PAISD trims budget in response to lower values
........ T he b udg et fo r the Por t Aransas ISD is shaping up to be $2,047,111 less than it was at this time last year.
School trustees heard at a budget workshop on Thursday, Aug. 12, that they’re looking at a budget for the 2010-2011 school year of $18,952,082. The budget that was proposed last year at this time was $20,999,193, according to figures from the district’s business office.
The major reason for the reduction is a sharp drop in property valuations from last year, Executive Director of Business and Operations Olivia Mixon told the board at its Aug. 12 meeting.
This year, the Nueces County Appraisal District told the school district that property within district boundaries was worth $1,647,598,706, a drop of 7.25 percent in valuation. The average Port Aransas property dropped in value from $248,000 last year to $230,000 this year, Mixon said.
It means significantly less revenue from property taxes than before, after a series of years when property values (and accompanying property taxes) seemed to skyrocket from year to year.
Another contributor to the drop in tax revenue could be a lowered collection rate. Based on previous years, Mixon usually plans on collecting about 96 percent of the property tax due to the school district. This year, that collection rate has been running about 95.14 percent as of the end of July, she told the South Jetty.
The reduction won’t have an effect on school district programs or employees, however, Mixon emphasized.
“It just means we won’t send as much money to Austin next year as we did this year,” she said.
Each year, the district sends about 73 percent of its tax revenue to the state to be redistributed to poorer school districts under the so-called “Robin Hood” school finance plan.
In fact, the board approved a teacher salary schedule for next year that represents an average 3.86 percent pay increase (see related story).
The board will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31, for its final public hearing on this year’s budget. At that meeting, trustees will pass the 2010-2011 budget.
The district’s tax rate for maintenance and operations won’t change, remaining at $1.0133 per $100 property valuation for the coming year. The tax rate for debt service will go up from .045 cents per $100 to .049 cents per $100, however.
That will make a total school tax rate of $1.0623 per $100 valuation.
Mixon said the increase won’t be noticeable to the average taxpayer.
In comparison, the effective tax rate – the rate needed to give the district the same tax revenue as it had last year – is $1.179, Mixon told the board.
The rollback tax rate is the limit to which taxes can be raised without an election. That rate is $1.0657, she said.
“That’s not necessary, but we could go there (if we have to),” Mixon told the board.
School trustees are expected to pass the tax rate at a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9.