On Tuesday, Beeville ISD trustees adopted a tax rate 9 percent higher than last year.
Superintendant Dr. John Hardwick Jr. said that it was an increase in the portion of the tax rate that pays off long term debt that caused the higher rate.
Last year, trustees adopted an INS — Interest and Sinking — rate of .25109 cents and this year the rate is .278 cents.
For maintenance and operations, the amount set by trustees to fund running the district, residents within the school district will pay $1.04, the same as last year.
“We got a little help for teacher pay raises,” Hardwick said. “For the rest of it we made accommodations within our budget.”
Included in the district’s $24 million budget is $1.3 million in federal stimulus funding allocated for employee pay raises during the 2009-10 school year, he explained.
This year’s budget also includes some $54,000 for new band uniforms and additional funding for fuel and substitute teacher pay.
The increased rate will mean about a $10 per month increase in school taxes for the average homeowner, Hardwick said. This number is based on an average home value in Beeville of about $73,000.
Skidmore-Tynan trustees adopted a tax rate a fraction lower than last year and has managed to fund the financing of 10 new, air conditioned buses.
Superintendent Dr. Brett Belmarez said trustees voted on Monday to adopt the rate of $1.27701, which includes $1.10 for maintenance and operations and the remainder to repay bonds.
Last year’s adopted rate was $1.2773, he said.
Remaining money from last year in the INS fund is making it possible to keep that portion of the tax rate roughly the same as last year.
The decision to purchase that quantity of new buses came about because of an expected price increase next year of upwards of $30,000 apiece.
“Our trustees had a big part bringing this thing to life,” Belmarez said. “I am commending our trustees for being forward thinking and purchasing the these vehicles before the increase.”
Belmarez said that the district would not normally purchase this many buses at once.
“We would normally cycle our buses from year to year and when they become aged we would put one or two in the budget,” he said. “This is replacing the whole fleet in one fell swoop.”
A change in efficiency and energy standards next year is the cause of the expected increase in price.
“We had a transportation expert come and tell us it would be between a $16,000 and a $30,000 increase, which would put it between $90,000 and $110,000 per bus,” Belmarez said.
By signing the seven -year lease purchase agreement, the district trustees locked in the lower price.
Belmarez said that transportation experts put the life expectancy of buses at between 12 and 15 years.