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School taxes may rise again
STOCKDALE -- For the second year in a row, taxpayers in the Stockdale Independent School District (ISD) might see a tax-rate increase. This time, the increase could be as much as 8 cents per $100 of valuation. This follows the 2 cents per $100 of valuation increase last year, after three years of tax-rate reductions. The proposed $1.34 rate is still lower than the $1.417 set six years ago.
According to Stockdale ISD Superintendent Paul Darilek after the June 11 school board meeting, this rate is just being proposed at this time and is the maximum the board of trustees can consider. At the budget hearing, set for Thursday, June 28, a rate must be posted to adopt the budget, Darilek said. The board formally adopts the tax rate after the appraisal district certifies the appraised value of property within the district, usually in the fall. The rate could be lower, depending on the total value of all property within the district.
“We have to make [bond] payments,” Darilek said, referring to a reason for the proposed increase.
The increase in the rate is attributed to the $3.25 million bond issue voters approved in November 2010 for the construction of the ag science building and junior high/high school cafeteria.
As reported in November 2010, the taxpayers could see an increase of 15 cents per $100 of assessed property value for the next 25 years.
Still on the subject of finances, Darilek advised the trustees that additional funding remains from the Texas Cool Schools grant. Since the district applied for the grant last September, it may yet be allocated funding.
According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website, “the grants are funded with up to $25 million in federal stimulus money for energy efficiency programs offered by the Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office.”
If Stockdale ISD is approved, the $96,000 grant would be used to replace 10 air-conditioning units in the elementary school.
The trustees also dealt with change recently, due to the resignation of a board member.
During a special called board meeting May 29, the trustees accepted the resignation of Rick Rutland, who served the district for approximately 18 years. He resigned for personal reasons, Darilek said.
To fill the vacancy, the trustees approved the appointment of Craig Clancy to fill Rutland’s unexpired term.
After Clancy’s swearing in, the trustees restructured the board, since Rutland also served as vice president.
Sal Urrabazo will continue to serve as president, with former secretary Teri Wolff elected to the vice president position. Pat Donsbach was elected secretary.
The May 29 special called meeting and the June 11 regular meeting may have been in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. According to Texas Local Government Code Section 551.056 (Open Meetings Act), school districts that maintain a website also must post the agenda online.
Neither of the agendas for these meetings was posted on the district website beforehand, however. Darilek said the two meetings were not posted due to the fact that the technician responsible for posting the agendas was on vacation. He is the only person allowed to post for security reasons, Darilek said.
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