SSISD tax rate projected to drop about 9 cents
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug. 15, 2006 -- Sulphur Springs Independent School District's school tax rate is being proposed at $1.41196 per $100 of property value for fiscal year 2006-2007, a 9 cent drop and still  generate enough money to pay for all expenditures and still leave some left over.

The board will meet again at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, first for a 30-minute public hearing for any discussion on the proposed tax rate before voting on it. The board will then hold a final work session to firm up FY 2006-07 budget.

According to Tax Collector Judy Gregg, the proposed tax rate was formed based on state calculations following recent legislature governing such issues. 

Gregg explained that taxing entities must follow a 35-step formula worksheet established by the state comptroller's office governing tax rates. Based on state assessment, school officials are proposing that the maintenance and operations tax, which funds daily district operations, be set at $1.304035, and that the interest and sinking tax, which covers district debts such as bond repayments, be set at $0.107925.

Current budget projections, which will vary from final figures pending the Aug. 28 meeting, put the district beginning the year with $5.08 million remaining in the fund balance from the previous year. Officials anticipate taking in $27.167 million in revenue and spending $26.927 million on day-to-day expenses.

Those figures do not include special funds such as food service and workmen's compensation, which combined are expected to see a shortfall of just under $247,000.

The district will also be paying more in debt service fees this year than last because of anticipated and budgeted bond repayments.

Overall, the district anticipates spending $40,503,384, including special funds and debt repayments. The district anticipates bringing in $40,504,209, leaving $825 left over.

That amount, coupled with the $5.08 million left from fiscal year 2005-2006, should leave the district with a healthy fund balance of $5,080,825 on Aug. 31, 2007.

In other business Monday, architects reported that construction projects at Early Childhood Learning Center and Sulphur Springs High School are on schedule, and engineering officials noted that studies indicate that damages to the high school foundation and structure are not nearly as severe as thought.

The water problem which caused foundation cracking and issues from double "T" posts appears to be from natural ground moisture from rain, and seems to be drying out while the soil holds up. Minor foundation and structural repairs could be implemented this fall, then permanent repairs or renovations made in late spring or summer of 2007.

Director of Elementary Education Connie Mabe also noted that the district has 85 more kindergartners this year than last, and that the second grade class was larger this year as well, which could require additional class sections.

The board approved policy changes recommended by Texas Association of School Boards, with one change to the admissions policy. Full-time district employees who live out of the district may still request enrollment for their children, and students who were enrolled in SSISD the previous year but have moved can continue to be enrolled at SSISD after a move provided, they pay an admissions fee each semester. Students who move out of the district to another area will not be allowed continued enrollment at SSISD through the end of the semester, as was one recommendation by TASB. The latter students moving during the year will need to enroll in the district at their new residence, Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed explained of the policy.

Overall, the district anticipates spending $40,503,384, including special funds and debt repayments. The district anticipates bringing in $40,504,209, with $825 left over.

That amount, coupled with the $5.08 million left from fiscal year 2005-2006, should leave the district with a healthy fund balance of $5,080,825 on Aug. 31, 2007.

In other business Monday, architects reported that construction projects at Early Childhood Learning Center and Sulphur Springs High School are on schedule, and engineering officials noted that studies indicate that damages to the high school foundation and structure are not nearly as severe as thought.

The water problem which caused foundation cracking and issues from double "T" posts appears to be from natural ground moisture from rain, and seems to be drying out while the soil holds up. Minor foundation and structural repairs could be implemented this fall, then permanent repairs or renovations made in late spring or summer of 2007.

Director of Elementary Education Connie Mabe also noted that the district has 85 more kindergartners this year than last, and that the second grade class was larger this year as well, which could require additional class sections.

The board approved policy changes recommended by Texas Association of School Boards, with one change to the admissions policy. Full-time district employees who live out of the district may still request enrollment for their children, and students who were enrolled in SSISD the previous year but have moved can continue to be enrolled at SSISD after a move, provided they pay an admissions fee each semester. Students who move out of the district to another area will not be allowed continued enrollment at SSISD through the end of the semester, which was one recommendation by TASB. The latter students moving during the year will need to enroll in the district at their new residence, Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed explained of the policy.

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