The Pottsboro Independent School District’s board of trustees hashed out a still-fluid budget and tax rate for the coming school year at the group’s recent regular monthly meeting.
The trustees reviewed a possible total budget of $12.69 million and a potential tax rate of $1.15 per $100 valuation of taxable property value. Neither of the figures were made firm during the meeting, but the board members did give their approval for an Aug. 28th public hearing at which the district is set to discuss both the budget and tax rate with the community and gather feedback.
“We feel very, very good with the budget,” Pottsboro ISD Superintendent Kevin Matthews said on behalf of the district and the school board.
Within the proposed budget for the 2017-2018 academic year, the district expects to collect roughly $8.78 million from local property taxes, $2.55 million from the state and roughly $1 million from the federal government. Matthews said the the district did however take a hit in the amount it expects to receive from the state of Texas.
“We did receive less in state funds,” Matthews said. “We lost about $400,000 from the state, in regard to state funds.”
Nonetheless, the district is positioned to end up in the black by roughly $75,000.
“We’ll look at, if there’s extra revenue, possibly continuing our project of updating the high school roof, as well as even the possibility of purchasing a new bus,” Matthews said.
The superintendent said he also made a recommendation to the board to adopt a proposed tax rate that dropped by one penny over the previous year.
The board approved a still-fluid tax rate of $1.15, with $1.04 of that allocated for maintenance and operations and 11 cents for debt service, or interest and sinking. Matthews said he recommended that the board knock a penny off the I&S rate, as the district could afford to do so in the wake of rising property values.
“We didn’t need those 12 pennies to make our required $1 million debt service payment that we talked about,” Matthews said. “So, the 11 cents allows us to meet that requirement that we need and we don’t ever want to tax the taxpayers more than we have to.”
While Pottsboro taxpayers can tentatively expect to pay a little less, the district’s staff may very well get a little more in their paychecks. Under the proposed budget, the board approved of a possible investment of at least $354,000 for a new salary schedule for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses.
“We did those things because we want to be able to recruit and retain the most qualified individuals to be in our classrooms and instructing our kids,” Matthews said. “We wanted to stay competitive, so this gets us moving in the right direction for that.”
Other district employees are also poised to receive an increase in pay under the proposed budget, but Matthews said he wouldn’t have a more detailed idea of how much that would amount to until the board holds its public hearing on Aug. 28.
Matthews said members of the public are welcome to attend the hearing, where they can ask questions and provide feedback, which the board will then use to structure a final budget.
“The board will obviously listen to any input they receive,” Matthews said. “As well, they’ll be reviewing the final proposal of the budget and pretty much our goal, every year, is always to adopt a balanced budget.”