The Brownwood Independent School District’s Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting today with several big items on the agenda including a new member and a proposed increase in the tax rate.
Tim Jacobs was sworn in as trustee replacing Mark Bradshaw on the board who resigned last month. County Judge Ray West conducted the swearing in ceremony. Jacobs is a pharmacist at Doc’s Drugstore in Brownwood.
Bradshaw’s resignation not only left a board position vacant, but also left the board without a vice president. The first action item on today’s agenda was to elect a new vice president. Roderick Jones was swiftly nominated and approved by the board to serve as VP.
During the audience participation portion of the meeting, Jimmy Carmichael addressed the trustees to suggest renaming the BISD Administration building after Don Martin, longtime teacher and superintendent for Brownwood Schools. Dr. Martin passed away late last year.
The board then addressed the issue of a proposed property tax rate for public notice as the board approaches time to present their ’09-’10 budget. Deputy Superintendent Kevin Gabaree explained to the board that the tax rate is made up of two parts – maintenance and operations & interest and sinking. Gabaree proposed that the maintenance & operations portion of the tax rate go unchanged at its current rate of $1.04 per $100 valuation. Gabaree said that the second aspect of interest and sinking, which pays for the schools debt, is a more complicated issue and may need a slight increase.
Gabaree said that the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is estimated to be 3150 for the upcoming school year which is slightly down from previous years. Since the ADA is lower than previous years, the district will receive less government money for the coming school year if these numbers hold true. The other aspect affecting the need for a possible increase is that the certified values of property is about $7 million lower than the previous year. A third and major aspect for the need is a large decrease in Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) that the state gives to help schools pay off bond debt. Though a formula, the state estimated that the BISD’s wealth per ADA increased which gives the district less EDA funding. This funding went from over $403,134 from last school year down to an estimated $87,500 for this school year.
With all of these factors, Gabaree said to pay off the needed debt, an increase to $0.2794 for Interest & Sinking is needed to pay off the fiscal year’s debt. This is an increase of $.0487 over last year. This would make a total school tax rate of $1.3194 per $100 valuation.
President Mike Coppic said,”Even with this increase from last year to this year we are still lower than we were in ’05-’06.”
Several trustee’s made a point that if the ADA is higher than expected, they would get more state money and could decrease the tax rate as needed.
The board unanimously approved the tax rate for public notice.
-In other business, the board approved the date of August 31, 2009 to adopt the 2009-2010 budget and tax rate.
-Trustees approved the ’09-’10 Professional Development Appraisal Calender where principals can conduct appraisals of teachers.
-Trustees looked at fuel bids for the year from Brown County Marketing & PF&E Oil Company. Trustees awarded the fuel bid to PF&E. Although they were slightly higher, the board was inclined to stay with a local company. The bid was to buy unleaded fuel for $.11 above PF&E’s wholesale price and $.12 for diesel.
-Trustees approved a list of vendors for various equipment and supplies to where the district will consider purchase first. They are not required to purchase from these vendors.
-The board adopted the student code of conduct for the new school year. The only change compared to last year was for cell phone and PDA use. PreK-6th grade will not be able to use these devices on school property. 7th grade to 12th grade will be able to use them only before & after school, during lunch and between classes.
-The board approved to add business manager Edward Sorola to the districts TexPool account.
The board then discussed the budget, dual credit classes, construction updates, and facility naming policy. Gabaree stated that the new school budget will be ready for the trustee’s review on Monday.