June 27, 2013

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

TISD Board of Trustees Approve 2013-14 School Budget, Tax Rates Student Meal Prices & Campus Name Change

Texarkana, TX – During their Thursday, June 27, 2013 regular meeting, Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the budget and proposed tax rate for 2013-14.

Budget efforts for the district began in December 2012 with a survey and needs assessment for the upcoming school year followed by budget estimates developed at the campus and department levels. During the last two board meetings, members have reviewed budget scenarios based upon current law and active legislation being considered. Additionally, a public hearing on the proposed tax rate was held at the beginning of the evening’s meeting.

“Our 2013-14 budget reflects a $2.2 million return in state funding which was a portion of the overall $3.1 million lost in 2011 as part of state educational shortfalls,” shared Deidra Reeves, Chief Financial Officer. This additional money will allow us to recover staff reductions that were made in our curriculum area, maintain our teacher step increases in salary and offer a 3% of mid-point range increase for all other professional, paraprofessional, instructional technology and auxiliary employees.”

Review of certified appraised values for 2013-14 shows $1.9 billion which is an increase of $22 million due in part to the development of the Texarkana Convention Center and Encore Waggoner Creek. TISD estimates enrollment for the upcoming school year to be slightly up by 76 students.

No change will be made to TISD’s current tax rate which has remained the same since 2008. The 2013-14 proposed tax rate is represented by $1.17 for Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and $.169 for Interest & Sinking Funds (I&S) which is used to repay bonded indebtedness and other debts.

In other business, TISD approved meal price increases for the 2013-14 school year. Meal pricing will be: Breakfast $1.80 (up $.10), Elementary Lunch $2.30 (up $.10) and Middle/High School Lunch $2.40 (up $.10). Price increases are mandated by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Equity in School Lunch Provision that annually reviews the paid lunch revenue to assure compliance with the paid lunch equity provision of the federal Healthy, Hunger Free-Kids Act of 2010. When the average paid lunch price is less than the difference between the federal free lunch and paid lunch reimbursement rates, the school food authorities participating in the NSLP must determine how to meet the requirement. The approved meal pricing structure will assist TISD in meeting the NSLP equity effort, cover additional food costs that have occurred and continue to allow them to maintain quality, affordable meals for students. 

Lastly, TISD Trustees approved the name change of Dunbar Intermediate School to the Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center as part of the overall elementary school realignment that was approved in April.

With the State of Texas continuing to increase the standards and rigor expected of students, TISD realigned three elementary campuses in order to provide the best possible instructional environment for students at Dunbar, Theron Jones and Westlawn. Additionally, a new attendance zone was created to include all three campuses. A series of Parent/Guardian/Community Informational Meetings on the proposed change were held in March.

Beginning the 2013-14 school year, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center will serve all Pre-Kindergarten students, Theron Jones Early Literacy Center will serve Kindergarten through 2nd Grade and Westlawn Elementary School will serve 3rd through 5th Grade.

The name change reflects the original moniker of the school - Dunbar High School (1953 – 1968) - the first African-American high school in TISD during segregation.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an African-American poet, novelist and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became one of the first nationally-accepted African-American writers. His work is known for its colorful language and a conversational tone, with a brilliant rhetorical structure. The New York Times called him a “true singer of the people – white or black,” and Maya Angelou considered him an inspiration for her “writing ambition” and uses his imagery of a caged bird like a chained slave throughout much of her writings.

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