BISD board approves 2016-2017 budget, tax rate
Breckenridge Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to adopt the 2016-2017 budget and set the 2016-2017 tax rate for the district on Monday night.
During a special board meeting, which immediately followed a public hearing on the budget and tax rate that nobody from the community attended, the board approved a district tax rate of $1.1785. The district rate includes a rate of $1.04 per $100 valuation for their maintenance tax, which is unchanged from last year. Those funds are used for the maintenance and operations of the district. The rate also includes a debt service tax of 0.1385 per $100 valuation, which is used to pay the district’s bonded indebtedness. That rate is up over last year’s rate of 0.12.
The board also passed a budget of $13,091.251 for 2016-2017 that that included a 2.6 percent increase in the maintenance and operations budget over last year and a 3.2 percent decrease in the debt service budget.
During the hearing, BISD Superintendent Tim Seymore presented board members with a few statistical facts he had researched on how the local district compared with similar sized schools in Texas on revenue and spending.
For example, he said the six schools in Texas that are about the same size as BISD, which have around 50 more or 50 less students than BISD, get to spend around $11,000 per student compared to around $9,000 per student that BISD spends. He said if you take that difference of about $2,000 more per student and multiply it times 1,500 students at BISD, that would be about $3 million more for BISD to operate with each year.
“What could we do different if this budget had $3 million more?” Seymore asked.
However, Seymore said the reason those districts have more money to spend on each student is because they vote to pay more taxes for their schools and are bringing in more money. He said the people in those districts voted to bring in more money because they want those kinds of schools.
As for BISD, he said the comparison shows how the district is able to efficiently operate within the revenue that it receives.
“At the very least, it shows you we’re doing this on a pretty tight budget,” Seymore said. “So when people say ‘all that money the school wastes,’ well it doesn’t appear that way when you look at this in comparison to the other schools. And, so that’s good to know, I think. And, it’s good for me to know that I’m not missing something here.”
The board also approved an employee insurance allowance for district employees in 2016-2017. The measure will provide each full-time district employee with a $500 insurance allowance and a prorated share for part-time employee for the 2016-2017 school year.
“Everybody’s health insurance rates have gone up again. We don’t get to control that. It’s one of those things where we’re not just not giving our teachers a pay increase; they’re losing money out of their pockets because health insurance rates are going up,” Seymore said. “So I think anything we can do is good. We are going to continue to struggle to get teachers. Almost every single person who left the district this year that went to another school, you ask them why, and they say, ‘because I’m going to make $15,000 to $20,000 more.’ I can’t fix that. So, anything we can do to make people feel better.”
In other business, the board approved a proposal for property/casualty/liability insurance by Property Casualty Alliance of Texas.
Also during the meeting, board members were given a tour of the high school facilities by Seymore and Breckenridge High School Assistance Principal Paul Armstrong.
During the tour, Seymore and Armstrong showed trustees some of the recent improvements that have been made to the facilities, like the tile repair work in the foyer of Bailey Auditorium and the inside of L. T. Cook gym that was repainted this summer.
They also pointed out several areas in the school where work is needed to fix problems such as better drainage in the courtyard between the main building and the cafeteria, how the buildings can be updated to make the campus more energy efficient and the technology that needs updating.