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GISD board approves proposed budget, tax rate

The Graham Independent School District school board approved their 2019-2020 proposed tax rate and budget Wednesday with the lowest tax rate in more than ten years.

GISD approved a proposed tax rate of $1.2770 per $100 valuation with $0.97 for maintenance and operations and $0.0307 for the purpose of payment of interest on debt, according to information provided by GISD. The taxing district previously set a rate of $1.3470 per $100 valuation for the past six years, starting in 2013.

GISD is also annually required to approve the tax rate for the North Central Texas College Graham Campus, because the entity served as the governing body which called the election resulting in the voter approved tax rate of $0.05 per $100 valuation for the purpose of maintenance and operations, Cruse said. On Wednesday, the board approved the same rate for the NCTC Graham campus and it will be considered by the board Friday, Aug. 30 during a public hearing.

The 2019-2020 GISD budget was approved at $24,452,013, an increase of $1,424,616 from the 2018-2019 actual budget. The budget includes the district’s new compensation plan approved in July for teachers which GISD Superintendent Sonny Cruse wrote in a July press release represented $1.7 million in new revenue for the 2019-2020 school year and a $950,000 financial commitment to employees in the district.

On June 12, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 during the 86th Legislature which along with other issues, was related to public school finance and public education. One major aspect of the bill was the creation of a new minimum salary schedule for teachers, counselors and librarians in the Texas school districts.

“Additional caveats of the legislation require school districts to allocate 30% of the new revenue toward an increase in salaries,” Cruse wrote in the July release. “Seventy-five percent of the 30% must be allocated to teachers, counselors, and librarians. Twenty-five percent of the 30% may be allocated to increased salaries for staff other than administrators.”

The plan approved by the district included the following commitments: A $2,900 raise for teachers with one to five years of experience, a $3,000 to $3,140 raise for teachers with six-plus years of experience, a 5% pay raise from the pay grade midpoint for employees other than teachers, a new hiring schedule which exceeds the mandated new state salary with a salary range of $40,000 to $55,040 an adjustments to individual teacher salaries which guarantees they are at least $500 above the new state minimum salary scale.

The amended compensation plan was also approved on Wednesday to have an insurance benefit contribution increase of $200 annually for employees on the TRS insurance plan.

“This $200 annually for our employees that take the insurance, will keep them from having any increase in their premium if they were doing employee only(...) so by doing that plus the raise we are giving it is truly a raise,” Cruse said.

The hiring schedule approved Wednesday as a part of the Business and Finance Policies and Procedures Manual for the district will have new teachers and librarians with no experience to five years of experience starting at $40,000, which is above the state minimum salary schedule. According to the Texas Education Agency teachers, librarians, full-time counselors and full-time nurses are required under a 10-month contract to be paid $33,660 with no experience and $38,880 with five years of experience under their 2019-2020 minimum salary schedule.

Likewise, teachers and librarians in GISD will start at $46,130 for 10 years of experience, $51, 210 for 15 years of experience and $55,040 for 20 years of experience.

“This (Business and Finance Policies and Procedures Manual) won’t go to the staff until between now and Sept. 1 and it doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1, but we will get it out to them,” GISD Assistant Superintendent and Financial Director Don Davis said.

The board approved a public hearing to discuss the proposed budget and tax rate for 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30 which will be held at the GISD Administration Office, 400 Third St.

For the rest of the story and results, see the Saturday, Aug. 10 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

GRAHAM OFFICE
620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 549-4364