This column is a follow up to last week’s column regarding the upcoming Tax Ratification Election. Please consider these questions and answers regarding the Tax Ratification Election for San Saba ISD and feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.
Why did the San Saba ISD adopt a tax rate above the roll back rate? The adopted rate will allow the District to maximize state funding. If the rollback rate is approved, the local tax base will produce approximately $193,455 in revenue per year while the state would contribute $268,618 in additional dollars.
Could this election have been held at the same time as the general election in November? This election could have been held during the general election; however, we felt like this issue needed to be presented and determined as to provide the District the maximum amount of time to have a final, known budget in place for the school year and to fully know our financial position for the year. As well, if additional cuts are going to have to be made, the District needs to do move forward with this action as soon as possible.
What is a tax rollback election/tax ratification election? Unlike the name “rollback” suggests, in a rollback election voters approve the tax rate that was adopted by the School Board. If the “rollback election” fails then the tax rate “rolls back” to the prior year’s rate.
How will taxes be affected for those over 65? School district taxes on resident homesteads are frozen the year a tax payer turns 65 and files the appropriate exemption forms. Therefore, for those individuals over 65, you are not impacted by this action.
What will San Saba ISD do if voters do not approve the tax rate increase? If the rate increase is not approved, the District will implement additional budget cutting strategies. Seventy-four percent (74%) of the 2009-2010 budget is comprised of payroll and payroll associated costs. The District cut $182,000 when forming the 2009-2010 budget and cut 5 positions. In most school districts, payroll is the majority component of the budget and the only way to lower the budget is through a decrease in the payroll. Currently the District has the lowest number of employees in its history. The District has 123 fulltime staff and 5 part time staff members.
What tax increase is San Saba ISD asking voters to approve? $0.13 cents. This would increase the tax rate for Maintenance and Operations (M & O) to $1.17 per $100 valuation and maintain the I & S (Bond Payment from 1999) tax rate of $0.09 . This brings the total tax rate to $1.26 which is still lower than the 2005 rate of $1.46 per $100 valuation when the state finance system law was changed.
How much revenue does a $0.13 cent increase in the tax rate mean to San Saba ISD? The adopted rate will allow the District to maximize state funding. If the rollback rate is approved, the local tax base will produce approximately $193,455 in revenue per year while the state would contribute $268,618 in additional dollars.
What does this mean to homeowners? The owner of a $50,000 house would pay about $3.71 per month more in school taxes for maintenance and operations if the proposed increase is approved. The owner of a $100,000 house would pay about $9.21 per month more and the owner of a $200,000 house would pay approximately $20.04 per month more if the proposed tax increase is approved.
What cuts have already been made over the past 2 years?
· Increased class size at elementary in the 3/4 grade.
· Reduced the number of Paraprofessionals.
· Did not replace a Spanish teacher, ESL teacher, middle school reading teacher, and a high school teacher.
· Special Education teacher, cut three part-time cafeteria workers, consolidated bus routes and
· cut 3 bus driver positions and only travel down main roads.
· Cut grade level field trips to no more than a 100 mile distance from school.
· Require boys/girls athletic teams to travel together when possible.
· Consolidated and limited teacher travel to ESC XV.
What will San Saba ISD do with these funds if voters approve the tax rate increase? If the voters approve the tax rate, San Saba ISD will receive funds to balance the school budget and pay for debt that is owed on the Armadillo Arena and Central Office and pay these buildings off sooner. Additionally, the funds will provide maintenance and operations funds and can be used toward a new elementary school and upgrade facilities such as science labs at high school and tennis courts. San Saba ISD has studied and formed a committee to determine the facility needs of the District. The committee determined that a new elementary school must be planned for in the very near future. Other areas that will need to be addressed are the FCS building, built in 1927 and the Red Gym dating to 1932.
We are hosting a final information session that will provide an opportunity for all interested parties to gain information about the election. September 29 will be the date of the final of two sessions. We will host the final session in the San Saba High School Cafeteria and we will begin at 6:30 pm.
As always, I encourage you to come speak with me about the election or any other concern you have regarding San Saba ISD. 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. Please take the chance to visit with our students and staff and give them a pat on the back. They are working so hard to make you proud of our community and of San Saba ISD. If you have any questions about this article or any other question about school happenings please contact me at 325/372-3144.