SSISD gets informal OK for early start date
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

May 9, 2006 -- Although Sulphur Springs Independent School District has yet to receive written confirmation of Texas Education Agency's approval of an early start date for the 2006-2007 school year, Aug. 14 was approved by board members Monday night as the start date for students.

TEA has a few days to respond to the request allowing the district to begin classes before the week of Aug. 21, but SSISD Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed said a TEA representative indicated in a phone conversation that the waiver has been approved.

"He said it is approved and gave use the go ahead for the early start," Reed told the board during the regular May board meeting. 

Teacherss will begin work for the 2006-2007 school year on Aug. 7. Students will report to class on Aug. 14. The last day of the school year for students will be May 24, 2007.

In other business, SSISD Tax Collector Judy Gregg reported on a tax appeal won by the district.

Hopkins County Tax Appraisal District appraises all county properties, including those in SSISD, for fair market value. A representative from the state comptroller's office then receives the information and at random selects a cross section or one property from among the commercial real estate, rural real estate and utilities categories. The comptroller's office chose a commercial property, which that office placed at a higher "fair market value" than the appraisal district's average.

After Gregg conferred with school officials, the district filed an appeal through the county appraisal district, arguing that the property evaluated was likely the  exception, rather than typical average, for those types of properties.

The appraisal district again conducted some evaluations and helped petition the comptroller's office. The appraisal district's findings were accepted.

"We won. They accepted the local value as what he appraise. Because of that, we won't lose any money over it," Gregg explained.

Gregg also noted that her office is in the process of filing liens on property of delinquent taxpayers.

Property owners with outstanding unpaid tax bills can expect to receive a reminder within the next week, when notices are expected to be mailed out. Anyone still delinquent on taxes on July 1 can expect to have their name referred to a tax attorney. Once the tax attorney picks up the case, a 15 percent penalty for attorney's fees will be added to the delinquent tax bill.

"This is a reminder that they need to get [taxes] paid to save money," Gregg said.

Gregg also said district will publish a list of delinquent taxpayers in the News-Telegram in July.

The board also gave the nod to sign a new contract with Houston-Galveston Area Council Energy Purchasing for electric service.

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