Financial survival is on the minds of each and everyone of us. Whether you are thinking of your own personal financial position, that of the business or an organization you lead, or both, the hard economic times have caused us all to think long and hard about each penny we spend.
We have talked about school finances before, but we must keep it at the forefront since the health of the school district impacts more than just the students educated in the school system.
Much is being considered in the legislature in regard to school finance. Senators Van de Putt, West, and Eltife filed SB 982 that would substantially increase equity, reduce recapture and restore the use of the state’s cost-based formula system. What does this actually mean? This bill would use Austin ISD as the benchmark in state funding. One penny of that district’s tax rate raises about $54 per student. State aide would be phased in, with districts receiving 90 percent of that next year and 95 percent the next from a combination of state and local funds. For example, in the first year a school district whose maintenance and operating tax rate is at $1 per $100 of assessed property value would receive about $5100 per student, with additional money for students in special programs. As the Austin district’s property values increase, so would the amount of money it and other school district can raise. The districts that now receives more than $5100 per student in state and local money are guaranteed $75 in additional funding per weighed student in 2009-10 and an additional $100 in 2010-11.
Currently, county school districts all may be considering a proposed tax increase in the future. This may include bonded debt for buildings or capital projects or additional pennies on the maintenance and operations tax rate. The state legislative action may be too late as schools are experiencing declining enrollment and are stuck financially by the current system based on 2005-2006 revenue. Currently, the local taxes per school district are as follows: Richland Springs ISD M & O $1.17 per $100 value; San Saba ISD $1.04 M & O + .09 I & S for a total of $1.13 and Cherokee ISD $1.04. We have to remember that M & O taxes are for the day to day business of making a school district run unless the funds can be “ear-marked” for certain projects. Any tax rate above the $1.04 M & O rate generally requires a tax payer election unless this is changed by the legislature. According to early reports, the legislature is considering providing additional pennies above the $1.04 as district discretionary pennies. This will not be known until the end of the legislative session. Keep your eye on Austin and the news to know how our community and school may be impacted by this legislative session.
Please remember that our website is the key to keeping up-to-date on school happenings. Please visit www.san-saba.net to view events and find information you need to know about SSISD.
If you have any questions about this article or any other question about school happenings please contact me at 325/372-3144.
Come out to Mill Pond Park to support the Dillos in Baseball and Softball!!! Thanks for the GREAT support at our spring Open House and during Public School Week! Have a safe Spring Break.