The tax rate for the 2013-2014 year will be $1.185 whether the election proposal passes or not. The election will be on increasing the part of the tax rate used for Maintenance and Operation (M&O) from the current $1.04 to $1.17, which would result in lowering the part used for “Interesting and Sinking,” or debt service, from the current 14.5 cents to 1.5 cents.
By raising the M&O portion of the rate 13 cents, the school can collect $205,239 more in state aid, despite lowering the INS part of the rate by 13 cents, said School Supt. Rick Albritton. The “tax swap” would give GISD a total of $8,364,156 in state funding, he said.
Early voting for the election is scheduled from Aug. 28 to Sept.10. Albritton said the school will have additional polling places, including possibly one at the high school on the night of Gilmer’s football game against Plano Prestonwood Christian Academy.
Overall, he told the four board members who were present, “We’ve survived seven years without a tax increase, and we’re fixing to survive two more years without a tax increase.”
Albritton also presented the board Monday night with his first draft of a proposed 2013-2014 budget for $18,278,226. It would provide a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, which would be about $850 for teachers, he said.
The superintendent said he hoped that would cover teachers’ increased cost for health insurance of about $75 monthly. He also said the total cost of raises to school workers, including teachers and others, would total about $300,000.
The current 2012-2013 budget as originally adopted was $17,868,193, said Albritton, but has surged to about $19 million due to improvements to Buckeye Stadium and borrowing $500,000 to purchase buses.
He also lamented the “depressing news” that under newly-approved state legislation, GISD will only recoup $300,000 of the $2 million it lost in state aid when the Texas Legislature cut education funding two years ago.
With three of the board’s seven members out because they were “traveling, some on business,” board President Jeff Rash told the trustees who were present, the board also took several other actions Monday night. They included:
• Hearing a lengthy presentation from teachers, students and Principal Tammy Meritt on the school’s “Summer Academy.”
• Approving Karen Jacks’s Longview CPA firm to contine performing the school’s annual audit.
• Approving retaining Interstate Studio for district photography services.
• Approving paying more than $36,000 for student accident insurance to Texas Monarch Management Corporation, a 33 percent hike from last year as the district had several claims.
Trustees attending Monday’s meeting besides Rash were Mike Tackett, Gloria King and Mark Skinner. Absent were Ken Southwell, Diedra Camp and Todd Tefteller.