School board proposes decrease on debt tax rate

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.
Updated Aug. 17, 2012 at 3:17 a.m.

[EDIT: The Victoria school district school board did not vote at Thursday night’s board meeting to decrease the tax rate. The board only discussed the proposed tax rate in a budget workshop. Actual voting on the tax rate will be at a special meeting on Aug. 28. The story on Page B1 Friday was wrong.

Additional clarifications from the same story include:

Property values went up about $417,041,635 over the last year. Property tax collections based on that increase will go up almost $5 million.

Administrators also will receive a $1,200 pay increase. This was not mentioned in the story.

Under the new salary schedule for substitute teachers, only certified teachers working as substitutes will receive the $95 per day rate. Non-certified substitute teachers with college degrees will receive $75 and non-certified substitute teachers without a degree will remain at the original rate of $70 per day.

The pay change will allow the district to retain and recoup former teachers, said Eloy Chapa, VISD director of human resources.

The retesting grading guidelines is a regulation not a policy.]

VISD school board members voted unanimously Thursday to propose lowering the tax rate dedicated to the district's bond payments.

"Did you hear that?" said school board Vice President Bernard Klimist. "We're lowering the tax rate."

The proposed decrease of a little more than a cent in the debt service tax rate - or what is known as the Interest and Sinking rate - comes out of a bump in property values that went up almost $5 million.

"It actually generates the same amount of money because the property value is going up," said Frances Koch, VISD executive director of budget and finance.

The proposed bond is set to generate funds needed to meet the district's bond obligations of $12.5 million, said Diane Boyett, VISD communications director.

"The values came in on July 25th, and from there Frances Koch calculated the new tax rate," Boyett said.

"This is a very positive thing especially in today's market," said Superintendent Robert Jaklich.

The proposed decreased tax rate wasn't the only item on the agenda that was met with applause Thursday night.

The board also moved to approve a proposed substitute and teacher salary schedule that would give teachers a $600 to $1,300 boost, depending on their experience, and paraprofessionals a 47-cent-an-hour increase in their pay.

"We acknowledge that this is not enough of any increase," Klimist told teachers in the audience. "I know it's not about the money, but you deserve much more."

The new proposed salary schedule will also give substitute teachers an increase in pay from $70 to $95 per day.

"This will give us the opportunity to retrain and recoup former teachers," said Eloy Chapa, VISD director of human resources.

The board also moved to approve updates to the school district bus zoning with newly identified traffic-hazard areas in mind.

"We have limited resources to work with, but we do try to work within those resources, especially in the hazardous areas," said Angie Sherman, VISD director of transportation. "Close to 3,000 students rode the bus last year."

The school board also discussed changes to the district's retesting policy, which is still in the works by Jaklich and a Texas Association of School Boards consultant.

"We will be working on this through the weekend," Jaklich said.



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