Tax ratification election likely for Pleasanton ISD
Twenty-four students were awarded the Pleasanton ISD Students of the Month recognition, each receiving a certificate and free pass to the Plestex Theatre. At the end of the term, their names will also be put in a drawing for an iPad.
Ronald Rocha addressed the School Board regarding the list of delinquent property taxes. He explained how his firm handles collections on these accounts. Mailings are sent out and often the taxpayers arrange contracts to pay the amounts. If there is no action, the firm will file suit, eventually go to court or end up in tax sales, which are held two times a year. He reported that they collected $846,463 last year.
Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Clinesmith told the trustees that they had copies of the preliminary campus and department needs assessment reports in their packets. The transition of Leming’s school closure is underway. The facility is a historic building and the potential future of it will be discussed at a later meeting. HR will be moved to the administration annex. PISD will partner with JISD for their alternative school, which will be some savings, but mainly will be safer for the students since they will not be transported to Floresville.
Dr. Clinesmith expects a tax ratification election this year. Salaries have been studied and are found to be significantly below comparable districts. She hopes to increase them, although they will still remain below the average. Teachers deserve recognition and need incentives to stay in place. She felt that the previous budget was based on the potential increases in property value, which did not happen as much as projected. Therefore, the fund balance is below the normal rate and the debt service reduction was left with a deficit. The tax rate has been static for several years and PISD is the lowest in the area; Charlotte and Beeville rates are even higher. The rollback election will not impact those with homestead exemptions. The tax rate can be lowered again if the property values increase and the needs go down. Clinesmith feels that the community understands the need and realized the unification of the sitting board. Plans for the election are for September.
Danny Brown moved to approve the minutes of the previous meeting; Ami Powell seconded. Motion passed unanimously with Clinton Henson, Blasa Chapa, Gerald Guerra and President Frank Tudyk, Jr. voting. Jamie Downs was absent.
A budget amendment was also approved, which included a $21,000 increase in the eighth grade pilot program.
A group called the Tax Payer & Student Fairness Coalition is considering bringing suit against the state to reinstate school funding. They are asking districts to pass a resolution of support, while asking for donations, as well. Clinesmith said that nothing will happen for a couple of years. The item was tabled.
Another resolution of support was passed. This concerned the High Stakes, Standardized Testing and Texas Public School Students, which is a nation-wide movement disputing the manner of accountability for schools. The ratings are based on the one test. The trustees voted unanimously to support the effort.
They unanimously approved the amendment of policy DEC (LOCAL) that deals with the money given at retirement for unused sick and personal leave. The current method will be honored this year, but afterwards, this will be handled in a step system. This year, retirees may receive up to $10,000; next year they may receive up to $7,000; in 2014, $4,000 and $1,000 thereafter.
There was the first reading of the TASB Update 93 that deals with bullying and the actions to take when it is discovered. Because it will take time for staff to understand and implement this policy, it will not be effective until 2012-2013 school year.
Finally, the school board members approved renewing the contracts of term employees, including teachers, coaches, librarians and others along with the approval of probationary contract employees. A new hire was Nicole McIntyre as a seventh grade English teacher.
Because of several changes, there are several non-renewal of term contract employees. Most of these have been hired internally through moves within the district. There are a couple that have not been placed, but they have until the last day of instruction to find a place for them.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.