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Falls City latest district to reach Chapter 41 threshold
FALLS CITY -- The Eagle Ford shale oil and natural gas boom has kept cash registers ringing for area merchants and has turned a lot of landowners into instant millionaires. But with this blessing also comes the curse associated with school districts becoming “property rich.” The Falls City Independent School District (ISD) has joined the Karnes City ISD in becoming a Chapter 41 district.
Tylor Chaplin, who officially will become the Falls City ISD superintendent July 1, already has been making the transition into that capacity as current Superintendent Linda Bettin prepares to retire. Chaplin said following the June 19 board meeting, and a presentation by Laura Ratliff of Education Service Center Region 3, that a significant increase in property values will require the state to recapture a portion of Falls City ISD’s property-tax revenue.
Under state law, the provisions of Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code kick in when the district’s total property value divided by the total number of students -- using a weighted average daily attendance formula -- exceeds $319,500. When this occurs, the district’s voters must decide from five options:
•Consolidation with another district
•Turning over portions of district property to the state
•Purchasing attendance credits from the state
•Contracting to educate nonresident students from a partner district
•Consolidating tax bases with another district.
According to a pamphlet being distributed to the district’s voters, Falls City ISD is considering either purchasing education credits or educating nonresident students. Both proposals will be taken before the voters on Election Day Nov. 5, in the form of two propositions that will require a vote of “for” or “against.” A copy of the pamphlet can be viewed at wilsoncountynews.com.
Falls City ISD ended the 2012-13 school year with 359 kindergarten through 12th-grade students.
Also during the meeting, board members began discussing the fiscal year 2014 budget. While actual numbers are contingent upon property-tax figures from appraisal districts in Karnes and Wilson counties, Chaplin said preliminary indications are that the Falls City ISD is considering the addition of a teaching position in the Luther Thomas Elementary School to keep up with growing enrollment.
Chaplin also said the district will continue its commitment to upgrading technology.
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