NEWS HEADLINES

Boyd ISD trustees approve budget

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Boyd ISD has a fiscal plan for next year.

Following a public hearing, the Boyd school board approved a $10,906,226 general fund budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. It will be funded, in part, by a tax rate of $1.22 – $1.04 for maintenance and operations (same as last year) and 18 cent-rate for interest and sinking or debt service.

With total taxable values of $896,720,655, the M&O tax rate will generate $9,135,827.27. Appropriations total just more than $10 million, creating a deficit of about $170,000 – less than this year’s anticipated shortfall of $185,000.

“With our fund balance being very healthy, I think that’s something that we can absorb,” Superintendent Ted West said. “I am comfortable expending those type of funds to fund the programs.”

The I&S is a half-cent less than last year’s rate, generating a total of $1,566,000 to service debt.

“Because the values were up, it takes less of a tax rate to generate the same amount of funds,” West said. “If we kept it at 18-1/2 cents, we would have to have a rollback election, which means we’d have to take that to the voters and they could roll it back even further than that. We don’t want to do anything that would trigger that.”

Trustees also approved a $611,203 food service fund, which is separate from the general fund budget.

“We were able to give pay raises to everybody in our school district,” West said. “We were able to start up some new programs. We are excited about expanding some of our existing programs, too. We think this a good, solid budget that’s going to be able to fund all of the activities that we think will make a successful school year.”

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As a property-wealthy school district, Boyd ISD is required to send some of its local funds back to Austin to be redistributed to schools identified as “property poor.”

“We have several different options in the way that we can do that,” West said. “The best option that we’ve always used is Option 3, which is to purchase attendance credits from the state.”

Under that option, rather than the school district receiving money from the state and then having to turn around and write a check back to the state, the state just withholds the money from state funds in the form of “attendance credits.”

“It’s the easiest way and less money, less paperwork going back and forth,” West said.

SAFETY REPORT

Boyd ISD safety coordinator Ken Murray reported on the district’s state of security.

Murray, who retired after a 22-year career in law enforcement to go into education, led a group that conducted a security audit beginning in February.

The group looked at the district’s four campuses – the elementary, intermediate, middle and high schools – as well as the early childhood center, athletic facilities, bus barn and administration building.

Auditors commended the district on certain precautions, including fencing around air conditioning units.

“This secures the air conditioning units from the safety aspect but also from the theft aspect,” Murray said.

Although the overall safety and security of the district was praised, several needed improvements were identified.

School officials took some corrective action this summer, such as installing double doors at the intermediate, middle and high schools.

“The ability to access the main halls of the intermediate, middle and high schools without first going through the office was a cause for concern,” Murray said. “Now (with the double doors) visitors come in the main door but cannot get to classrooms without first coming through the office.”

The elementary school already had those doors in place.

A few other suggested improvements are in progress, including the installation of a security light near the gate at the bus barn and numbering the inside and outside of all exterior doors.

“This is more for emergency responders,” Murray said. “That way they know exactly what door an intruder may be at, what exit they need to cover, etc.”

School officials will also look into installing a Knox-Box Rapid entry system, which would essentially give emergency responders “a key to the key to any school building.”

“We feel we do a pretty good job of making sure we have a safe system in place, safe organizations,” West said. “We are constantly doing different types of drills and evaluating. Hopefully we never have to use any one of them. Hopefully it’s all just drills. But the world we live in these days, it’s a necessary evil that we practice these things and plan for these things.

“If anything were to happen … fortunately we do have a little bit of a comfort level that we do have a good system in place.”

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