Burnet CISD trustees lowered the district’s tax rate by nearly four cents and approved a $34 million budget for the 2020-21 school year during their regular meeting Monday, Aug. 31.
The new tax rate of $1.146 per $100 valuation is 3.9 cents lower than the 2019-20 tax rate of $1.185 and represents the fifth year in a row the board voted to lower the tax rate — now at its lowest point in school district history, according to Superintendent Keith McBurnett.
Since 2015, the Burnet CISD Board of Trustees has lowered the school district’s tax rate by a cumulative 18.4 cents. The newly adopted rate of $1.146 now puts Burnet CISD as having the second-lowest tax rate among area school districts, McBurnett added.
The 2020-21 budget adopted Monday night funds a two-percent pay increase for all eligible employees while also increasing health insurance contributions by the district to ensure all employees continue to receive free health, dental, vision and teleheath insurance for themselves (employees pay out of pocket to cover dependents).
Also funded are new campus staff as proposed by the Superintendent’s Campus Cabinet; Instructional Classroom Enhancement (ICE) funds for all teachers; campus budgets; departmental budgets; and COVID-related expenses.
The board also approved assigning fund balance in the amount of $405,000 to cover the additional expense of substitutes related to the 10 federal emergency paid sick leave and five local COVID wxtended leave days the board approved on Aug. 17.
Administrators reported the district has a current enrollment of 3,078, which is 122 students less than the budgeted enrollment of 3,200. This same trend of fewer enrolled students is true of most school districts across the state due to COVID-19, McBurnett said.
“Campuses are working to determine the status of no-show students,” McBurnett said. “A reduction of 122 students, if it remains, would have a significant impact on the operating budget.”
During the meeting, the board also approved the 2020-2021 District Goals and the District/Campus Improvement Plans. A copy of the District Improvement Plan can be found at burnetcisd.net.
Approved goals include:
• Goal 1: Burnet Consolidated ISD will implement a comprehensive, challenging course of study that addresses the individual and diverse needs of learners while preparing all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in an ever-changing world.
• Goal 2: Burnet Consolidated ISD will implement a safe and positive culture of spirit, pride, and honor for all staff and students.
• Goal 3: Burnet Consolidated ISD will recruit, retain, and support quality educators.
• Goal 4: Burnet Consolidated ISD will build a collaborative relationship that actively engages our district, families, and communities.
The board also approved House Bill 3 goals for Early Childhood and College, Career, and Military Readiness. House Bill 3, passed in the 2019 Legislative session, requires school boards to adopt detailed plans developed to achieve goals in two key areas: early childhood literacy and mathematics; and college, career, and military readiness.
The board also approved the remote instructional plan for submission to TEA. Districts have until Oct. 1 to submit plans for review, feedback, and approval. However, the administration requested that the board approve the asynchronous instructional plan for early submission in order to expedite the communication and implementation of any refinements required by TEA upon their review.
Finally, based on a request for proposals, the board approved Maldonado Construction as an approved vendor for district-wide concrete work and Clint Wright Painting for district-wide painting work.