Trustees keep same tax rate for 8th year

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KISD trustees adopted a proposed budget and an unchanged tax rate for the 2018-2019 school year at a board meeting and required public hearing Monday night.

The meeting included time set aside for public comments on the budget and tax rate. No one from the public commented, though several members of the community were in attendance.

“I am very happy to report this was probably, from the last two years anyway, one of the easiest budgets to pull together,” said Revard Pfeffer, district chief financial officer. “What we’re bringing to you tonight is a general fund budget that has $1,142,090 in excess funds.”

Pfeffer explained the excess funds were accrued when the district set aside funds generated by a local optional homestead property tax until a court case regarding the tax is resolved. He reported the 2018-2019 budget included $33.8 million in revenues and $32.7 million in expenses with general fund revenues up $2 million over the previous year’s budget.

“I’m happy to say that, for the first time in just over six years, we have an increase in property values. We’ve seen a good run of decreases in property values and we’ve seen about a $72 million increase this year which helps us generate those additional revenues,” Pfeffer said.

Pfeffer added the district’s total tax rate has remained unchanged for eight years and the maintenance and operations fund, used to fund daily district operations, has remained unchanged for 12 years.

“That’s almost unheard of in these days,” he said.

The budget includes raises for every employee in the district and funds allocated for various expenses, including new chairs in the high school band hall, new football helmets and a new dishwasher for the middle school cafeteria.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed budget and tax rate of $1.3092 per $100 of valuation, the same tax rate as last year. Pfeffer explained the board was required by law to divulge they would receive more revenue in the coming year than last year due to increased property values.

Interim superintendent Mike Morrison delivered a report to the board regarding the beginning of the school year and enrollment numbers.

As of the end of the school day on Monday, Kilgore Primary reported 795 students enrolled, Chandler Elementary reported 634 students, Kilgore Intermediate reported 626, Kilgore Middle reported 926 and the high school reported 1103 enrolled for a total of 4,084 students. Morrison added the district counted 13 more students enrolled than at this time last year; 108 students had enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year since the first day of school.

KISD Director of Technology Mark Lane delivered his annual report on the district’s internet safety plan. He described the plan’s objectives, which included preventing student access to inappropriate or non-educational websites and controlling who is allowed to email students.

“One thing we added this year at the high school was an additional requirement for all of the students before they could get the extra features like WiFi and things like that,” Lane said. “This is a course where they have to have parental permission first. Before they are allowed to access those additional resources on their own device, they have to go through a course where they work through some materials, some videos, some online resources to address things like sexting, appropriate sharing and bullying and all those sorts of things. We’ve had a good result on that. Of the 1080 students, we’ve had 864 that have completed that.”

The next KISD board meeting is scheduled for September 24, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the KISD Administration Building at 301 N Kilgore St.

School board passes budget and tax rate, reports higher enrollment

Cutline 1: KISD Chief Financial Officer Revard Pfeffer discusses the 2018-2019 district budget at a board meeting Monday evening. The trustees voted to adopt the budget, which includes raises for all KISD staff, and the tax rate, which has remained unchanged for eight years.

Cutline 2: KISD Director of Technology Mark Lane explains the district’s internet safety plan to board trustees on Monday. The plan includes a educational course on safe internet use which KHS students must complete before being allowed to access campus WiFi on personal devices.

Cutline 3: Interim Superintendent Mike Morrison addresses the KISD board on Monday about enrollment numbers at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, which are slightly higher than last year.

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