BISD adopts tax rate with nearly flat funding results
By Julie Whitmore
The Board of Trustees for the Bandera Independent School District voted to lower the district’s tax rate at a special hearing held Tuesday, Sept. 8, before the regular biweekly board meeting.
The recommendation to leave the maintenance and operation rate at the same level as last year - $1.04 per $100 of property tax valuation, and the decision to lower the interest and sinking fund rate from $0.19 to $0.17 per $100 - is the result of rising appraised property values throughout the county.
No members of the public commented on the budget.
The total BISD budget will enjoy a 6.73 percent interest despite the action, according to BISD Superintendent Dr. Kevin L. Dyes. The current rate of $1.210 approaches the highest that can be levied without incurring a rollback election.
According to figures provided by BISD, the actions will result in an increase of $123.26 on the average taxable residence in Bandera County.
A more detailed analysis of the district’s tax position will appear in a later story.
Bandera is considered a “wealthy” district by the Texas Education Agency because the numbers of students have declined as property values have increased. Eventually, if this trend continues, the state will supply less funding to BISD so that it can serve districts with “more children per acre,” as it were.
Dyes outlined these problems only in general terms, noting that “$700,000 of state grant money has strings attached to it,” meaning specific programs and requirements.
BISD’s estimated cost per student for 2009-2010 is $7,666 per student, with average daily attendance of 2,301, and employee full-time equivalents of 353. Over the past 10 years enrollment has dropped while costs have continued to spiral upward.
On other matters, Dyes advised the board of continuing classes in health science technology, culinary arts and a greenhouse at the high school, which will be used by both agriculture and home economics departments.
David Brown, technology director, outlined developments in video-conferencing for staff and students, so-called “digital lockers” and increased distribution of netbooks. Students participate in video production for the BISD multimedia page, which will result in a “whole library of student generated videos.”
The board also adopted seven “board-superintendent prioritized goals” aimed to, among other things, “increase the percent of students to who qualify for grade level promotion.”
These prioritized goals will also be explored in a later article.