PISD tax rate remains flat

PISD_5-12 035Paris Independent School District plans to keep its tax rate steady for the next year.

“The desire is not to raise taxes at this point,” Business Manager Tish Holleman said during Monday’s school board meeting.

Trustees voted to keep the tax rate of $1.455 per $100 of assessed property value. That includes $1.17 for maintenance and operations and 28.5 cents for the interest and sinking fund, which pays the district’s debt.

So far, the draft budget includes $34.51 in revenue, which includes $10.56 million in property taxes and other local sources, $21.76 million from the state and $2.2 million from federal programs.

Proposed expenditures to date total $34.77 million, including $24 million in payroll, $3.65 million for debt payments, $3.5 million in contracted services, $2.61 million in supplies and materials, $731,600 for “other operating expenses” and $78,000 in capital outlay. That leaves a shortfall of about $256,900.

The numbers are still moving, Holleman said. The budget still needs “quite a bit of cleanup,” and even the revenue numbers are not quite firm yet. The school board will adopt its official budget in June, but the certified tax rolls will not be available until July.

“We did estimate the tax level at the end of April, and the numbers look pretty good right now. There is a small chance our numbers could go up,” she said. “These days, I think it’s a good thing if it stays the same, because we have seen it go the other way.”

In other business:

  • The trustees declined to take action on an option to spend $37,000 for a program called MD Live that would allow employees to call a hotline and talk to a doctor for routine issues such as sinus or ear infections. Rather than the district paying for the program for all employees, it will be offered at a cost of $10 per month for individuals to sign up.
  • Trustees tabled action on the USDA community eligibility program, which could restructure the free breakfast and lunch programs. Superintendent Paul Jones said the district plans to seek more information before implementing the new program.
  • The school board approved revisions to the 2014-2015 calendar to accommodate changes in state testing days. A weather day was moved to April 3, which is Good Friday, and a staff development day was moved to May 25.
  • The board granted permission for students to travel to the Future Problem Solving international competition in Ames, Iowa, June 11-15. The group plans to charter a bus as it is about half the cost of flying.
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Jeff Parish Jeff Parish is a high school English teacher and journalist. He has worked for the Greenville Herald-Banner, Dallas Morning News, The Paris News and Galveston County Daily News, among others. For comments, feedback or suggestions, you can email him at jeff@eparistexas.com.