George West Independent School District’s board of trustees approved an $11.7 million dollar budget for the 2021-22 school year and approved a tax rate that is slightly lower than the previous year during its August meeting.
The budget approved, $11,716,720, was about 2% higher than a preliminary budget proposed earlier, noted Ty Sparks, a financial specialist for the district.
While home values in the George West area decreased in the latest appraisal, the overall tax base increased by about 1%, meaning that the district expects to collect about $27,000 more than it did the previous year.
The tax rate will be $1.19631 per $100 property value. The district continued with the same tax rate for maintenance and operations for the 2021-22 budget year, but slightly lowered the interest portion of the tax rate, by 0.2%.
“There will be a decrease (in GWISD property taxes of about $279 for the average taxpayer” based on lower home values, Sparks said. He attributed decreased property values to an adjustment in Eagle Ford Shale oil activity.
One area the district will have to pay more for is property and casualty insurance. Don Clark, an insurance provider based in the Corpus Christi area, said while the district faces an increase, it isn’t as much as many other districts will have to absorb – especially those closer to the coast.
“You look at the rates and see an increase, but compared to some of the costs paid by some other districts, you’re in pretty good shape,” Clark told the school board.
He noted that one area district saw its deductible rise from $50,000 to $200,000. One district which had locked in rates for four years and was no longer able to keep those rates was hit with a 75% increase this year. A district in Brooks County experienced a 38% increase, while another in Jim Wells County received a 46% increase in insurance costs. Meanwhile, George West ISD will pay a 9% increase.
Because of an increased threat from cyber crime, the district is increasing its cyber security insurance from $100,000 to $1 million, which will cost an additional $5,600. The total increase in insurance costs is $22,301, and the district will pay $211,698 for property and casualty insurance for 2021-22.
In other action, the board:
• Set its next meeting for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22.
• Heard a report from Superintendent Dr. Roland Quesada about a $1.5 million 21st Century grant received by the George West, Three Rivers and Beeville school districts. This will pay for increased student activities and enrichment programs for at-risk students. The services will be available both after school and during the summer.