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Sharyland eyes 8.5 cent tax increase: Higher taxes needed to pay for new high school

MISSION — Sharyland Independent School District residents will likely see an 8.5 cent tax increase next year. The tax hike is needed to pay for the proposed Sharyland Pioneer Memorial High School, which will cost $55 million, according to district officials.

In addition, SISD employees may see a small pay raise, according to preliminary estimates discussed at Monday’s board of trustees workshop on the proposed $101 million budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

SISD Superintendent Dr. Virginia Richter said the budget included a $900 pay raise for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses. Administrative and professional employees, which includes supervisory, technical, clerical, secretarial, instructional support and auxiliary employees, will receive a 1.5 to 1.8 percent raise. Richter said the $900 was less than what surrounding districts were offering, but explained some of those districts did not give any raises last year while SISD gave a $400 salary increase to teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses. Combining the two years raises, SISD was giving $100 more in raises over the two-year period, she explained.

Staffing changes in the budget includes four new employees, plus reinstatement of three of the five workdays for librarians and counselors that were cut in a previous budget.

SISD Business Manager Jesse Muñiz said personnel receiving the extra three days included central office professionals and clerical, athletics, band, vocational, cheer, choir, agriculture teachers, central office supervisory, campus administration, clerical, strategists, diagnosticians, speech pathologists, and maintenance/custodial staff. The total cost for new employees and changes in days amounted to approximately $1.3 million

District officials said this year’s budget is based on a proposed ad valorem tax of $1.2855, which is an increase over the $1.20 tax of the previous year. The $1.2855 tax rate is the highest tax rate the district can adopt before requiring voter approval in a rollback election. Broken down, the tax included $26,461,400 for maintenance and operations and $6,115,936 for the interest and sinking fund, commonly called the debt service.

Total taxable value of all property in SISD amount to over $2.57 billion. The growth rate within the district was figured at 1.5 percent. The homeowner with an average value home at $164,527 will see a tax increase of $166.69 due to the additional taxes.

Richter said the increase was needed to cover construction costs related to the Sharyland Pioneer Memorial High School. The new campus is expected to cost the district $55 million. Unlike surrounding districts with high numbers of low income residents, SISD does not qualify for any special state funding to help pay for the new school, she added.

When the new campus opens, each Sharyland high school will have approximately 1,600 students.

Broken down, the budget included an official budget of $89.9 million, which included $77 million in the general fund and $4.9 million in the food service fund and $7.6 million in the debt service fund. Supplemental budgets for special programs amounted to about $11.2 million bringing the total budget to $101,158,650.

Funding for the budget is 46.4 percent from the state, 42.3 percent from local funds, 7.9 percent from federal funds and 3.4 percent from other sources. State funding is based on funding for average daily attendance of the district’s estimated student population, which Muñiz said is close to 10,000 students. Funding is expected to increase to $9,696 per student, a 1.5 percent increase, over the 2011-2012 school year.

A public hearing will be held Aug. 28 where the public can comment or ask questions about the budget before it is approved.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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