Alvord school board keeps tax rate the same

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, August 31, 2013

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Few areas see as much change as education, with new laws, new curriculum, new programs and the constant stream of new faces.

But in Alvord ISD, for the fifth year in a row, the property tax rate will remain the same.

The school board held the required hearings Thursday evening on the budget and tax rate for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year, getting no feedback from the public and quickly adopting what Superintendent Bill Branum recommended.

The district’s proposed operating budget is $6,654,222, with a food service budget of $422,600 and a debt service budget of $811,247.

The total budget is $7,888,069.

The tax rate remains at $1.17 per $100 valuation for maintenance and operations (M&O) and 19.4 cents for the interest and sinking (I&S) fund to service debt, for a total tax rate of $1.364.

The district’s income stream is made up of $2.4 million in state aid, $4.4 million in M&O property taxes, $750,000 in I&S property taxes, $390,000 in food service income, and federal funds of $67,000 under Title I and $19,000 under Title II.

With combined income of $8,026,000, the district should be able to add to its reserve funds over the coming year.

Having agreed on a raise for employees, payroll costs went up almost $175,000 – and payroll makes up about two-thirds of the total budget. But other costs were trimmed by a little over $216,000 to provide for a slight budget surplus.

The district’s savings look to be in good shape as well, as Branum gave the board an investment report. As of Aug. 22, Alvord ISD had the following bank balances:

  • $2,533,459 in the general fund account after the August payroll and before the final state aid payment of about $300,000, which came in this week;
  • $10,142 in the debt service fund;
  • $531,083 invested in a certificate of deposit; and
  • $1,406,736 invested in the TexPool fund, a state-managed investment fund for school districts.

After the hearings and a closed session to evaluate the superintendent, the rest of the meeting went fairly quickly.

The board heard reports from all three campus principals on enrollment numbers.

Alvord Elementary principal Bridget Williams reported 342 students at her campus in grades pre-K through 5, while Janis Branum reported 152 in grades 6 through 8 at the middle school and Rhett King repored 203 at Alvord High School.

Mrs. Branum and Dr. King both thanked board members for the new concrete around the school, expressing the sentiments of faculty and parents.

“I was extremely pleased with the start of the school year,” Mr. Branum said. “It was the smoothest one yet – not even close. I attribute that to the hard work of the staff, and told them so in an email this morning. It was flawless.”

The board approved six transfer students, reauthorized the investment policy and amended the student code of conduct and student handbook to specify that switchblade knives are not allowed on campus.

They also purchased three vehicles:

  • a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban from Lipscomb Auto Center in Bowie, at a cost of $26,475;
  • a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic from James Wood Motors in Decatur for $16,828;
  • and a 2013 half-ton pickup from James Wood Motors in Decatur for $17.891.

The board also approved the sale of an unused mobile home at the district’s Project Center to Bob Mayo for $3,516.

There were no personnel recommendations and no action was taken on Branum’s contract or evaluation.

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