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Decatur ISD proposes same tax rate

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017
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Following a budget workshop Monday, the Decatur School Board officially proposed keeping the 2017-2018 tax rate the same as the current rate.

The proposed rate is $1.34 per $100 of taxable value, which includes $1.04 for maintenance and operations and 30 cents for debt service.

Deputy Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Cindy Tatum told the board they were pretty much locked in at the $1.04 rate for M&O, but she needed advice from the board on where to set the interest and sinking rate.

“With our values, if we stay at 30 cents, we would only reduce fund balance by about $16,000,” she said. “One positive note – we now are eligible for the existing debt allotment. So that is an extra $95,000 in savings that we have not been eligible for before.”

During a budget workshop that immediately preceded the tax rate discussion, Tatum pointed out the district’s certified tax values increased by about $80 million, which provided an extra $697,000 in revenue.

But due in part to a large drop in values last year, the district is not classified as a “property rich” district this year, meaning it does not have to make recapture payments to the state. Last year DISD paid $1.8 million in recapture payments.

Based on projected enrollment, along with the loss of $2.1 million in Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) funding, Tatum calculated the district would have an overall increase of $195,000 in available revenue.

The proposed budget includes a teacher pay raise of 2 percent based on the midpoint of the salary scale and sets first year teacher pay at $45,000, a $1,000 increase from last year.

Tatum said that will keep pay in line with other local districts.

“It’s very good considering the majority of our market is the big school districts down the road,” she said. “So we’re still competing very nicely with them – Northwest, Denton, Keller, Eagle Mountain Saginaw. We’re still in the game with them.”

A public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate is 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at the DISD Board Room. The board will also adopt the budget and tax rate following that hearing.

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