Good news for local taxpayers;
Proposed school rate 6-cents less
than originally anticipated
by Dolores Hamilton
Taxpayers in the Iowa Park school district got a break recently when the projected tax rate of $1.34 that would cover the $14.7-million bond issue passed by the voters was reduced six cents to $1.28 per $100 of property valuation.
According to Tax Assessor/Collector Jonathan Clubb, the decrease in the proposed tax rate is due to receiving a lower than expected interest rate on sale of the bonds, and an increase in local values from $519-million to $562-million.
At Thursday’s meeting of the Iowa Park CISD School Board, Superintendent Jerry Baird told them, “we’ve really had a good run of luck. When we sold our bonds, we were thinking we would sell them at about four percent interest. Our call-in costs on selling those bonds came in at 3.09 percent.”
“We had anticipated a total tax rate of $1.34 - that’s what we told everyone in all the information we put out (when promoting the bond election), Clubb added. “With the low interest rate and increase in revenue, we need $1.28. “The $17 a month on a $100,000 home goes down to $12, a 29 percent decrease.
During a discussion on the new budget, Sharon Godwin, the school’s business manager, said last year the board approved a budget that projected a deficit of $301,406. “The best estimate today is that we will wind up with about a $150,000 deficit in the 2012 budget ending Aug. 31. “I think that is really good because that includes two air conditioning units, the band trailer, and electrical work at Bradford.”
The preliminary budget for 2012-2013 shows an estimate of $15,226, 847 in revenue, $15,482,968 in expenses, and a deficit of $256,121.
Because the district didn’t meet the federal Average Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements, Godwin said that 20 percent of the Title I funds have to be allocated to staff development to help improve AYP scores next year. Baird explained AYP is a part of the No Child Left Behind, and our students are expected to progress so much each year. “This past year all of our campuses met AYP, they met their growth requirements, but the district did not because of the scores of a sub group,” he said. He added that about 58 percent of the districts in the state didn’t meet the requirements.
The trustees approved the proposed Budget/Tax Calendar and Calculations and proposed tax rate of $1.04 for maintenance and operation (M&O) and $.24 for interest and sinking (INS) for 2012. They will meet again on Aug. 30 to approve the budget and adopt the tax rate.
The student handbooks and Student Code of Conduct were approved after a few changes were made to the handbooks. Two state issued revisions were added that apply to: (1) attendance of a student who voluntarily attends or enrolls after his or her 18th birthday; (2) The school district requests to be notified when a student has been diagnosed with a food allergy, especially those that could result in dangerous or possibly life-threatening reactions.
Two changes were made to the student dress code. At the high school, permissible skirt length has been changed from two inches above the knee to four inches above the knee. This is now consistent with the four-inch rule for shorts. Also, pants must be no larger than two waist sizes above the normal size for the student and shall not “sag” below the waistline of the student.
Decisions on sagging will be left to the discretion of a campus administrator.
In addition, Designer Drugs, for example K2, has been added to #18 of Level IV offenses under the Discipline Section.
Food service bids accepted include: Oak Farms Dairy, milk bids; IBC Sales Corp., bread; and Blue Bell Creameries, ice cream.
Approval of the Construction Manager contract was tabled to allow time for further negotiations.
During the superintendent’s report, IPHS Principal Tim Bartram said next year’s graduation will be on Saturday, June 1, at Memorial Auditorium in Wichita Falls, and Project Graduation would take place in Iowa Park afterward.
Baird said the FFA fruit and meat sale will done separately this year. The meat sale will be first because the fruit, grown in Texas, doesn’t come in until later.
Baird also reported that the band trailer had come in, and they had purchased another smaller trailer for use by several school organizations.
The railroad tank that supplies water for maintaining the grass on the football field and practice fields is low on water. Baird said it was down to about a foot to 16 inches deep and the pump is unable to work. The board members discussed digging a deeper spot to gather enough water so the pump would work, and Merle Rodgers offered the use of equipment from his company to help.
After an executive session to discuss personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Shawnda Gilmore as an aide at the middle school, and employed Braden Perry to take her place.
During the meeting, Vickie Jordan, principal at Bradford Elementary, was recognized for being selected to serve as District 9 President-Elect for the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.