Burnet CISD lowers tax rate by four cents

Monday, Aug. 21, was a busy day for the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, and not just because it was the first day of school.

After holding a public hearing earlier in the evening, the BCISD Board of Trustees adopted the 2017-2018 budget of $28 million and a tax rate that includes a four-cent reduction in the overall tax rate from $1.32 per $100 valuation to $1.28 per $100 valuation during its regular monthly meeting.

The reduction in tax rate will take place in the interest and sinking rate, which covers interest on bond debt for facilities. The district will drop its I&S rate from 28 cents per $100 valuation to 24 cents per $100 valuation. The district's maintenance and operations rate, which covers operating costs like salaries, benefits and utility bills, will remain the same as last year at $1.04 per $100 valuation.

"The Board of Trustees and administration are committed to having the lowest possible tax rate while planning for the future and maintaining an outstanding educational program for students," said BCISD superintendent Keith McBurnett.

The final adopted tax rate was even less than what the board had proposed last month, which would have seen a two-cent drop in the I&S rate for a total rate of $1.30 per $100 valuation. The approved tax rate is two cents away from being at pre-2014 Bond Program levels, McBurnett said.

“We are thrilled to have accomplished so many upgrades and renovations to our facilities the past three years while aggressively lowering the tax rate," said McBurnett. "Because of the work we accomplished, our facilities are safer, more efficient and provide a better learning environment for students.”

"Our maintenance and operations rate will remain at $1.04, which is the highest it can be set without requiring an election,” BCISD director of business and finance Clay Goehring said last month. “It could be set lower, but the district would see a penalty in a loss of both state and local money due to the state's funding formula, so it is in the best interest of the district to keep the maintenance and operations rate the same.”
In 2006, the state Legislature required school districts to compress their maintenance and operations tax rates by 33 percent in order to create property tax relief. In order to maximize supplemental funding from the state without suffering loss of state funds, school districts must adopt a maintenance and operations tax rate equal to its compressed tax rate plus an additional six "golden pennies," or cents above the compressed tax rate.

The compressed tax rate for Burnet CISD is 98.33 cents, so the district maximizes its state funding by setting a maintenance and operations rate of $1.04. The state allows a district to set its tax rate at six cents above the compressed rate without requiring a rollback election.
In other action Monday night, the board received an Accountability Report in which they learned that BCISD and all campuses Met Standard on the state accountability system. The board also heard a demographic report in which the demographer projects modest growth for the district during the next 10 years of approximately 300 students.

Also, the board approved the purchase of three activity buses for field trips and extracurricular trips as well as activating cameras in special education self contained classrooms after the mandatory five-day notice has been provided.

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