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TISD approves tax rate, budget for 2019-20

The Thorndale Independent School District Board of Trustees set the 2019-20 tax rate and TISD taxpayers will be getting a little relief.

The board approved a tax rate of $1.06835 per $100 during its meeting Aug. 19. This is a 10 cent decrease from last year’s tax rate of $1.17.

The board approved the budget and tax rate during the meeting.

Business Manager Rebecca Peel presented the 2019-20 compensatory budget and general budget during the meeting. She reported that the district would have a balanced budget with some new capacity for this year. 

During administrative reports district principals and directors were present to answer questions. 

Middle School Principal Scott Frei discussed a pilot grading system that is being used for eighth grade reading. He stated that this system is focused more on objective mastery where traditional grading systems are more focused on completion and compliance. He added that there was a great deal of flexibility in this pilot and that it would be reviewed often to determine its effectiveness. 

High School principal Jennifer Parnham reported that the enrollment number was currently around 210 students.

Peel brought several items to the board for approval. She started with a resolution certifying the review of the districts investment policy and designation of investment officers. Peel explained that the district currently has only a small amount of funds in pool investments and that due to the higher rate of return through general accounts at Classic Bank the district was likely going to move those funds. The resolution passed by a vote of 7-0. 

Superintendent Adam Ivy presented a renewal for property and casualty insurance through the Texas Rural Educators Association Risk Management group. Ivy explained that this was a surprise since the rates had doubled and the deductible would be increasing from $10,000 to $100,000. He reported that the insurance provider, Travelers, had forced this issue with TREA resulting in the renegotiation of rates. TREA was approached by Travelers wanting to triple the premiums and raise the deductible to as much as $250,000. TREA then shopped around and came up with a better plan through Gallager Insurance. 

Ivy stated his research showed this to be a industry-wide issue that would be affecting all schools and that the district would likely conduct a request for proposals in the spring to make sure that they are getting the best value possible. The board voted 7-0 to approve the renewal. 

In addition to the insurance rate increases, Ivy added that there was the possibility of joining a small cooperative that would help to offset the costs of the new higher deductibles. He told the board that he would like to wait a little while longer before taking any action on this to make sure that the cooperative has solid participation.

Ivy then informed the board about some concerns surrounding Senate Bill 712. He explained that this piece of legislation originally looked like a common sense approach to limiting severe forms of discipline but that there are potentially some late additions to the bill that may change the way that certain procedures happen. He stated that schools were waiting on the commissioner of education to draft new rules concerning SB 712 and that the district would be on the lookout for those new guidelines.

Up next on the agenda was the proposal to purchase four new buses. Ivy explained that the district has written a grant that would pay for 80 percent of the new buses. He asked the board to approve $432,000 to pay for the buses with the understanding that the district would be reimbursed all but $80,000 of that amount once the buses were purchased and delivered. He added that this would give TISD a bus fleet that would be in great shape for many years to come. The board voted 7-0 to approve the expense. 

The board heard a brief request to endorse a candidate for the Texas Association of School Boards – Board of Directors. They decided to table that item until a future meeting. The final item on the agenda was the approval of Board Policy update 113. Ivy reminded the board that this was the third reading of the policy and asked if there were any new questions. The board voted 7-0 to approve update 113.

The date for the September meeting was set for Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. 

The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902