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July 16th, 2010
San Marcos CISD trustees consider tax rate decrease

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San Marcos CISD Trustees Judy Allen, left, and John Crowley, right, at a recent meeting of the school board. Photo by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

Proposed changes for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) next budget year include an orchestra for grades 7-12, a reduction in the property tax rate, and $1,200 more for every teacher.

The property tax rate proposed for the 2010-2011 school year is $1.04 per $100 of taxable valuation for maintenance and operations (M&O), plus $0.31 per $100 of taxable valuation for debt service, for a total of $1.35 per $100 of taxable valuation. The current tax rate is $1.37 per $100 of taxable valuation.

The school district is budgeting a total outlay of $70,835,696. Operating budget revenues and expenditures will balance at $57,369,866, including an increase of $642,593 for revenues. The two-cent rate reduction in the debt service property tax will result in a decrease of $633,368 in those revenues, but the debt expenditure is falling by $640,326 to $10,044,914.

District property values are expected to increase from $3.278 billion to $3.320 billion, resulting in additional tax revenues of approximately $265,000 on the M&O side (at the anticipated $1.04 tax rate), said San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services Michael Abild.

“Increased taxable values, combined with lower debt service requirements for 2010-2011, will allow the district to reduce its debt service fund tax rate, which is currently at 33 cents, by two cents down to 31 cents,” Abild said to trustees at a recent special meeting of the board.

After various budget increases and reductions, school district officials anticipate a net increase in the general fund budget of $285,618, or 0.5 percent more than last year.

Wage and salary increases, including associated payroll taxes and other benefit costs, represent the largest single increase in the 2011 budget, even though no increase in personnel positions is anticipated. Wage and salary increases total approximately $1 million to a total of $46,774,023.

Teachers will receive an additional $1,200 added to each year of their 2009-2010 salary schedule, with beginning teachers being paid $40,600.

Abild proposed a corresponding 2.5 percent mid-point increase in wages for other employee categories next budget year.

The district anticipates no increase in student enrollment. However, though enrollment and the average daily attendance (ADA) rate is flat, the district’s weighted average daily attendance (WADA) rate is still increasing, due mostly to increases in its economically disadvantaged and special education populations.

Since the 2005-06 school year, the school district’s enrollment has increased only 257 students to 7,434. The district’s staffing has increased by 100 positions to 1,142.

ADA is a method of counting students for the purpose of providing state aid to school districts. WADA is used to allocate state funding for programs such as special education, vocational, bilingual, gifted and talented, and compensatory education. Because state funding is largely determined by WADA, the district’s state funding is expected to increase next budget year by approximately $586,000.

San Marcos CISD will probably continue to be a Chapter 41 “property wealthy” school district, though it will not be responsible for “Robin Hood” payments unless trustees increase its M&O tax rate more than $1.06 per $100 of taxable valuation.

Abild said San Marcos CISD will continue to experience budget pressures, particularly in the realms of wage, utilities, insurance, and fuel costs. Abild said it is unlikely the district will be able to provide future pay increases and balance its future budgets without the use of reserves or an adjustment in its tax rate. The district had $22.8 million in reserves as of August 31, 2009.

Abild said interest rates will likely remain low for the foreseeable future. Abild said debt service requirements in 2012 and later years will remain relatively constant, and he said further reductions in the district’s debt service tax rate will mostly depend on growth in taxable values.

The district is considering creating an orchestra for grades 7-12, which it estimates would cost $175,000-$200,000. The cost estimate includes $100,000 for two new positions, $50,000-$75,000 for initial instrument costs and $25,000 for other budget items.

There may be a shortfall in property tax collections for 2009-2010. Budgeted general fund property tax revenue for 2009-2010 was $33,920,089, and projected revenues for the same year and fund is $33,846,461, including delinquent collections. Budgeted debt service fund property tax revenue for 2009-2010 was $10,763,105, and projected property tax revenues for the same year and fund is $10,739,742, including delinquent collections.

Budgeted 2010-2011 general fund property tax revenue for 2010-2011 is $34,184,925, including delinquent collections. Budgeted 2010-2011 debt fund property tax revenue for 2010-2011 is $10,189,737, including delinquent collections.

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One thought on “San Marcos CISD trustees consider tax rate decrease

  1. Thank you SMCISD; ACC Annexation is on the November Ballot and knowing that my taxes will be less this year I will be voting FOR annexation. It is great to read that SMCISD is expanding services.

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