At school we have talked to the staff about what type of impact the possible legislative budget cuts will have on San Saba ISD. We are making plans and assessing all of the needs we have for our students and have devised three plans depending on the outcome of the Legislative session. However, I have been asked how can the school consider proposing a building program while the Legislature is cutting school revenue and schools are cutting back on personnel. The difference is there are two different types of budgets and two different types of tax rates and revenue sources.
The regular daily operating budget is called M & O or Maintenance and Operations Budget. This type of budget is supported by the local $1.04 tax rate dollar and the funds the school earns from daily attendance and the state revenue program. The tax rate is the same each year unless the taxpayers change this rate through a tax ratification election (TRE). The revenue that funds this maintenance and operation budget (M & O) is the budget that will be impacted by the proposed legislative cuts.
The other budget is supported from revenue collected from a voter approved Interest & Sinking tax rate that provides funds for a very specific project. For example, the last voter approved election in 1994 approved a .09 cent tax rate for the building of the middle school, building trades building, renovations to the white gym and the elementary school office complex and satellite dining. The .09 cents per $100 of property value collected by the appraisal district goes specifically to the payment of these voter approved projects. The funds cannot be diverted or spent on other projects except those approved by the voters. This .09 cents will expire in the year 2024 unless it is paid off early.
The same will be true if voters approve any new bond at the May election. The building program will be set out before the voters, a certain number of pennies per $100 valuation will be determined is needed to fund the project and that will be offered to the voters for consideration. Generally, the bonds are offered for 20 to 25 years. When the time period is completed then the program is paid off. The building program for schools is much like a home mortgage except that many people are paying for the project and the school district is the beneficiary. Fortunately for San Saba ISD, a portion of their mortgage could be at a no or a very low interest rate because of the Qualified School Construction Bonds that were awarded. How much more could possibly be added to the tax rate and what will it look like for tax payers? If the value of a home is $100,000 and the voters approve the bond and .23 cents is added to the tax rate, the cost will increase $230.00 per year for this tax payer whose home is valued at $100,000 or $19.17 per month. Please call the central office or talk to your board members if you have questions about the proposed building project. The phone number to the central office is 325/372-3771 and your school board members are Darrin Barker, Marcie Maxcey, Kim Kirk, Michael Deans, Susie Nettleship, Kevin Shahan and Bob Whitten.