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Alvord School Board opts to keep same tax rate

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, September 1, 2018
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After considering a tax rate increase for the 2018-2019 school year, the Alvord School Board Thursday opted to leave the tax rate the same.

The challenge facing the board this year was a depleted fund balance in the debt service budget. In order to keep the tax rate the same the past two years, the board authorized dipping into the debt service fund balance to make up the difference.

That left an estimated $46,382 in the debt service reserves. Keeping the tax rate the same would result in a $54,102 decrease in fund balance.

During the public hearing, resident Kevin Wood said he was representing taxpayers who were opposed to a tax rate increase. He said the board had not properly managed finances over the past few years, leaving them in a bad position.

“In 16-17 and 17-18, you had to take reserves to cover your debt service. Any functioning, intelligent board member would have known at that point there is a problem,” he said. ” … The board engaged in a plethora of budget amendments, which are dollars that the board did not budget and expenditures that have increased money that could have been put back to cover this.”

Superintendent Randy Brown pointed out that the district has gone from hundreds of thousands of dollars of deficit budgets to a balanced budget this year.

“This district has improved our financial position,” he said.

Board member Daniel Ruddick asked about taking money out of the maintenance and operations budget to cover the $7,700 shortfall in the debt service budget. Brown said that would be an option.

“We’d have to make a budget amendment at some point in the future, probably take it out of building improvements because that’s where we’ve added the most and have the most room. That decision will be made at a later time, but yes, we could do that,” Brown said.

One possible result of that action would be a decrease in the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas score for the district. Alvord is currently rated “superior.”

The board agreed to keep the maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.17 and an interest and sinking tax rate of 18.4 cents per $100 of taxable value. A budget amendment will be made at a future time.

The 2018-2019 budget was also approved: $7,877,221 for general operations, $438,854 for food service and $745,125 for debt service. The budget includes a 3 percent of midpoint salary increase for teachers.

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