PRESS RELEASE


August 22, 2014

Tina Veal-Gooch
Director of Public Relations
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

TISD Board of Trustees Approve Tax Rate Give Name to Tennis Facility and order Bond Election for November

Texarkana, TX – During their August 14 regular session, Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the tax rate and certified values for 2014-15, naming of Texas High School Tennis Complex and ordered the calling of a school bond election for November 4, 2014.

The 2014-15 tax rate approved for adoption will remain at $1.339. The rate, which has been the same since 2008, 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.

According to Deidra Reeves, Chief Financial Officer, “There has been no significant increase or decrease in certified appraised values for the last six years and remain constant for the 2014-15 school year at $1.9 billion.”

In other business, members approved the naming of the Texas High School Tennis Complex to the John Watson Tennis Complex in honor of the recently retired coach.

Watson began his 31 year career with the Tiger Family in 1983. Under his supervision, the tennis program has had continuous success earning 464 team wins and 56 fall and spring district titles, 48 of those titles consecutively. Around 25 to 30 of his players were named state qualifiers, with six of them capturing state champion titles.

“I am shocked with this recognition and feel that it is a tremendous honor for the TISD Board of Trustees to even consider naming the tennis facilities after me. They have really blown me away,” shared Watson. “I am looking forward to seeing my name on the building and enjoying a naming event with family, friends, co-workers and past players later in the year.”

Additionally, Board of Trustees approved the order to call for a school bond election on November 4, 2014 for the purposes of addressing overcrowding due to enrollment increases and projected growth in the coming years.

Current student enrollment projection for 2014-15 is 7,305 which places the school district at 106% overall capacity.

“TISD has had steady enrollment of an average 150 students per year for the last twelve years,” commented Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “Our combined elementary campuses are at 99% capacity, Texas Middle School is at 114% capacity and Texas High School is at 112% capacity. We now find ourselves at a pivotal decision point in order to prepare for the future and maintain an appropriate student/teacher ratio.”

The $29.9 million Bond Election would address only two issues to ease the overcrowding: the building of a new elementary campus and a stand-alone Sixth Grade Center on the Texas Middle School campus.

Beginning in September 2013, the TISD Board of Trustees approved the district moving forward with the development of a Strategic Planning process to address short-term and long-terms goals and needs for the next five years. From October 2013 through March 2014, parents, volunteers, staff, students and community members analyzed seven areas of the district: curriculum; goal setting; technology; human resources; finance and facilities; mentor programs; and community outreach. Recommendations and goals, in all areas, were developed, including the building of a new elementary school and a sixth grade center.

If approved by voters, the Bond Election will feature a tax rate increase of 08.9¢ effective the 2015-16 tax year. The average increase in property taxes for homeowners and businesses will be:

*$50,000 Home - taking into consideration a $15,000 Homestead Exemption - $2.60 per month increase with an overall $31.15 per year increase.

*$100,000 Home - taking into consideration a $15,000 Homestead Exemption - $6.30 per month increase with an overall $75.65 per year increase.

“We know any time you talk about tax increases it causes apprehension and concern among voters,” stated Norton. “Unfortunately, at this point, this is the only way that we can get the needed facilities for our students.” “As a taxpayer myself, I value that the one big difference in a school bond tax increase versus an increase in state and/or federal taxes is that you can actually see and touch the product that your monies goes towards.”

For more information on the upcoming bond election, please contact tisdpr@txkisd.net or 903.794.3651 ext. 1101.

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