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Poth ISD approves tax-rate reduction, fills vacancies
POTH -- The Poth Independent School District (ISD) has approved a reduction in its tax rate for the coming school year. This and employment for the 2012-13 school year were of paramount importance to the Poth school board during its July 26 special meeting.
In the middle of budget season, the board examined finance and appraisal numbers in detail. In the wake of the recent surge in oil and gas exploration in the Eagle Ford shale and drilling in the area, property values have soared. According to the Wilson County Appraisal District, property in Poth has been appraised at a total of $256 million.
This dramatic increase could give the school district an approximate revenue of $7,190,700. The almost-$7 million proposed total in expenditures will leave the district with a surplus of $191,957. With such an overage, the board approved a measure that would drop the tax rate from $1.095 for every $100 of property valuation to $1.07.
The rate is comprised of $1.03 for maintenance and operations and 4 cents for debt service. This is a decrease from last year’s $1.04 and 5.5 cents, respectively.
This reduction will extrapolate to slightly more than a $25,000 loss in revenue. This will be the first time in recent years that school taxes have been lowered.
Also consuming the board’s attention during the special meeting were hirings and resignations, with three separate positions heavily discussed. Deliberations took place entirely in closed session during the 4-1/2-hour meeting; the decisions were announced that night.
Having opened officially only days before, the position of elementary principal has now been filled. Following the resignation of Carolina Gonzales, Laura Kroll will now head the campus.
At Poth High School, Jesse Husbands will be the new social studies teacher, filling the position held previously by Fred Radske. While Husbands was hired primarily as a teacher, he also will coach golf.
The board withdrew into closed session a second time to discuss the contract of Superintendent Andrew Peters. Discussion centered on the possible release of Peters and its effect on the district this close to the beginning of the new school year. No action was taken when the board reconvened.
The board also addressed facilities issues during the lengthy meeting, deciding that the best course of action regarding the crumbling foundation of the high school is to hire a qualified architect to assess the damage and ultimately determine a solution. It has become apparent that the cracks are caused by wide pockets of compressed soil underneath caused by a lack of moisture due to the drought, the board was told.
No architect was chosen by the meeting’s end, though, and the item was tabled indefinitely.
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