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BISD sets tax rate for 2012-13

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Following a public hearing regarding a proposed tax rate to support its 2012-13 budget, the Bandera ISD board met in regular session Monday, Sept. 10, and adopted a rate just slightly lower than last year's.

The rate to support the district's maintenance and operations budgets will remain the same as last year's at $1.04 per $100 appraised value of property. The rate to support the interest and sinking fund has dropped slightly from last year's $1.19 to $1.18 per $100 appraised value of property.

The I&S fund pays off the district's bonded indebtedness, which is debt incurred due to bond issues approved by voters. BISD's total outstanding and unpaid bonded debt is a little over $37 million.

The total taxable value of all property in Bandera County rose somewhat this year, according to figures provided to the district by the county's Central Appraisal District. Last year, the total taxable value was $1,412,306,716.

This year's total value is $1,435,656,940.

Due to increased appraised market values on residences in the district, it is estimated that a residence valued at the district-wide average value of $157,145 would show an increase of $12.42 on the property owner's tax bill with the adopted tax rate.

The district's budget for next year includes a fund balance of $9.14 million in the M&O budget, and a fund balance of $1.588 million in the I&S budget.

All BISD budgets are available on the district's website, or at the Central Administration Office in Bandera.

Other business

In other business, the board:
• Adopted a resolution regarding the extra-curricular status of Bandera County 4-H and recognized County Extension Agents Jana Osbourn and Sam Womble as adjunct faculty;

• Approved leasing a school bus and driver to Pipe Creek Christian School for educational field trips;

• Were introduced to candidates for election to the school board, including Dr. Barbara Skipper for Place 3, and Bo Mansfield and Ray L. Vernon for Place 4;

• Heard a report from Superintendent Regina Howell indicating an enrollment of 2,419 students, a 97 percent Average Daily Attendance, and results from ACT scores that show the district's students are scoring at or above state-wide numbers except in reading.

Bonnie Hale, administrator of testing and at-risk programs, presented a brief over-view of the Texas Student Data System (TSDS), a new state-mandated data collection system to which the district is currently switching over. Because it combines data from a number of programs into one place, Hale opined that "it will be very useful to our district for intervention strategies and more."

Board member Lee Haile questioned the security of the system. "I realize the value of having this information readily available, but there's just this concern about privacy."

Tish Grill, BISD business manager, presented a report to the board to show how the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 affects BISD students. Under the 2010 act, the school lunch program, which began under President Harry Truman, became "food based. It is now based on the food pyramid. Previously it was nutrient based." Grill and BISD Food Services Director Felicia Bell explained that menus now include more fresh vegetables and fruits and a wider variety of entrée choices.

Because these foods have a shorter shelf life, "we order only three days out and don't keep as much on hand," said Bell. Food services also keeps a sharp eye on food waste to help make decisions about adding or deleting menu selections.

BISD contracts with Aramark Educational Services, Inc. to manage its food service department.