By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com NEWS & SPORTS – FREE & LOCAL
STEPHENVILLE (July 20, 2015) — Stephenville ISD trustees voted unanimously Monday to approve a proposed tax rate, but the tax discussion is far from over for the district.
If the proposed strategy reaches fruition, SISD will vote to officially adopt its tax rate following a public hearing in their next regular meeting on Aug. 17. They will then call for a tax ratification election (TRE) asking voters to approve a tax swap matching the increase in maintenance and operations (M&O) taxes with an equal decrease in interest & sinking (I&S) taxes.
Because the state contributes more money on the M&O side of taxes than the I&S side, the move would land SISD additional state funds.
“We will be asking voters to approve a movement of I&S pennies to M&O to bring in an additional $360,000 for technology support for instruction,” said SISD superintendent Matt Underwood. “The overall tax rate will not increase.”
The proposed rate before the tax swap is $1.17 per $100 valuation for M&O, and an additional $0.1946 for I&S, a total of $1.3646 per $100 valuation or $1,364.60 on $100,000 of appraised property.
Watch for further details concerning the TRE and tax swap Tuesday morning on The Flash.
One issue currently faced by all area school districts – besides tax and budget calculations – is storm damage and corresponding insurance settlements and repairs.
Stephenville ISD suffered almost $1,150,000 in depreciated value of facilities due to storm damage in April and May.
The majority of the district’s repair needs are roofing related, according to a presentation by SISD director of maintenance Keith Starnes, who informed trustees and administrators that roofing will not begin until after the completion of the 2015-16 school year. A summary of damages with estimated depreciation follows (Note: There was no charge for work on HVAC information):
Central Elementary School – roofing, fence screen = $134,000
Chamberlain Elementary School – roofing, metal roofing, work on HVAC information = $513,000
Gilbert Intermediate School – work on HVAC information
Hook Elementary School – roofing, work on HVAC information = $354,000
Henderson Junior High – work on HVAC information
Stephenville High School – roof accessories repair, work on HVAC information = $35,000
Administration Building – roofing $61,000
Baseball Concession Stand – roofing $3,000
“Some of it we could have done while school is in session, but we aren’t going to want the tar and the smells up here while students are here,” said Starnes. “My thoughts are that we start right when school gets out and get it going.”
Trustees quickly approved a motion to hold the district’s 2015-16 graduation ceremony on Friday, May 27, 2016. Graduation has been on a Saturday in recent years.
District core values and 2015 district goals were also approved with no opposition. The core values include growth, integrity, initiative, relationships, excellence and personalization. The district goals are as follows:
Goal 1: Provide a caring and compassionate culture where students can effectively communicate, collaborate and create in a way that enables them to connect and function effectively as a lifelong learner.
Goal 2: Provide a challenging curriculum in tune with evolving technology advancements enabling students to be competitive and successful in the global marketplace.
Goal 3: Provide daily instruction that challenges students to thank creatively, critically and collaboratively.
Goal 4: Provide assistance for each student to envision their individual potential within the context of global workforce, enabling personal responsibility and provide them the avenues for success.
Goal 5: Provide challenging education programs delivered by a broader curriculum supported by professional learning that will give students the qualities and skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
Goal 6: Provide safe and secure educational facilities that enhance an educational experience that is sought after by students all over the country.