By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – The Crockett Independent Board of Trustees met in a regularly scheduled meeting, held on Monday, April 29, to discuss a variety of topics and issues. Some of the meeting highlights included: a discussion on a possible tax swap; recognition of the CHS UIL Academic Team, along with the cast and crew of the high school’s award winning One Act Play; and the resurfacing of the track and athletic field at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium.
As the tax discussion got underway, CISD Superintendent Terry Myers explained several pieces of legislation were being considered in Austin which would limit school districts to limit tax hikes to four cents, regardless of a tax rollback election.
“In order for school districts to take advantage of a tax rollback election and get the full 13 cents they are capable of and for a community to grant the school district the ability to get 13 cents on the M&O (Maintenance and Operations) side, the district has a right to go all the way to $1.17,” he explained.
Currently, the CISD tax rate is $1.25 per $100 of property valuation, comprised of $1.04 M&O and $0.21 Interest and Sinking (I&S).
Myers stressed this matter was not about raising taxes but “… being able to take pennies in our $1.25 tax rate and move some of them to the M&O side so that we maximize our budget. Right now, our district is leaving about $250,000 on the table that we could be getting from the state if we had the ability to move those pennies over to the M&O side, above $1.04.”
Myers said the district currently had the ability to move 13 cents over to the M&O side and still meet the district’s tax obligations.
“If we decide to pursue a tax rollback election in June, we have to have already begun talking about this before the law passes with the legislature or we will not have that opportunity,” he said.
“Nowhere is this board talking about raising taxes, nor would that even be part of the conversation, if we are talking about a tax rollback election. This would simply be a way for the district to maximize funding available to the district from the state and still maintain the same tax rate,” Myers explained.
He further said this would give the board the ability to raise taxes “… and if the community decided to do this, they would be giving the district additional taxing capabilities. But, this is not what this is about. This is about maximizing our funding. Our board has demonstrated – for seven straight years – that they do not want to raise taxes unless we absolutely have to.”
Myers also indicated this was an item for consideration only, but added he would like to see the discussion approved so it would be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.
Prior to the tax swap discussion, members of Crockett High School’s UIL Academic Team, along with the cast and crew of the high school’s award winning One Act Play, were recognized.
“Tonight, I am very pleased with a group of high school students. We have had elementary and the junior high over here, but take a look now at the feeder system we have going on here. The elementary and junior students are now coming into the high school and our One Act Play has returned to be recognized,” Myers said to those in attendance.
The superintendent yielded the floor to Crockett High School Principal Deborah Revels who in turn yielded the floor to UIL Coordinator and science teacher Pamela Randall.
“We are very fortunate to have some real go-getters as far as coaches are concerned. In the past, we haven’t had that many coaches to coordinate the events, but this year we have increased in numbers as far as the events are concerned,” Randall said.
After introducing the various coaches present at the meeting, she introduced the students who competed in the UIL Meet, held in Buffalo, and listed their multitude of awards.
Theater arts teacher and One Act Play Director Janet Walker spoke next and sang the praises of her cast and crew. The newest members of the National Honor Society were also recognized by the board.
As the meeting continued, Myers brought forward an agenda item pertaining to renovations of the track and field at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium.
“This has been a long time coming. I know the board has given me a pretty good directive to get on this so we can get our track and our field actually replaced because of the wear and tear on it,” he said.
Myers said the bid he received showed a company known as Vibra-Whirl had come in with a very reasonable bid of $560,908.20 “… and that is a complete renovation of the track and carpet for the football field. It is almost $100,000 less than I thought it might cost.”
Next, he introduced two representatives from Vibra-Whirl – Mike Dawson and George Keen – who walked the board through several facets of their installation procedure.
Following the Vibra-Whirl presentation, the board unanimously approved the measure.
In other matters brought before the board:
- The trustees accepted a $1,500 donation from Walmart to go towards the girls’ basketball program.
- The accounting firm of Axley and Rode, LLP was selected as the district’s financial auditor.
- The district’s depository contract with Prosperity Bank was extended.
- The food service management contract with Chartwells was approved.
- The district approved the Summer Feeding Program through the East Texas Food Bank.
- Brenda Bradshaw was approved as the Presiding Judge for the May 4 CISD Trustee Election.
- April Langford, Lauren Garcia, Ashley Gattis and Ashley Warren were hired by the CISD board.
- Consent agenda items were approved.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.