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2017 Tax Rate, Budget Approved

2017 Tax Rate, Budget Approved

Tax rate remains the same at $1.23; $125.6 million budget includes $1.2 million deficit

 

TSSEC Outstanding soloists  

The August 21, 2017 board meeting featured many presentations honoring high-achieving fine arts students. Pictured here:the TSSEC Outstanding Soloists (from left) Elayna Anderson (Rider), Austin Taack (Rider), Caleigh Studer (Rider), and Alyssa Wilkins (Wichita Falls High School). Pictured with the four students are (far left) Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski, (far right) WFISD board member Bob Payton, and board member Tom Bursey (middle, back).

 

 

 

 

The rare 2017 solar eclipse that paraded across North America on August 21 didn’t eclipse school business Monday. Board members convened at 5:30 p.m. for the legally required presentation and later adoption of the 2017 tax rate and then WFISD’s $125.6 million budget for the new fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1.

 

In the monthly board meeting, board members also acknowledged 65 high-achieving fine arts students and six WFISD staff members who have been honored statewide.

 

The 2017-2018 Tax rate, budget

The $125,595,459 budget is built on a tax rate of $1.23 per $100 valuation, which is the same as last year and the maximum allowed by law.

 

In a 6-0 vote, board members adopted both the Maintenance and Operations tax rate of $1.04 and the Interest and Sinking Fund of 19 cents, for a total tax rate of $1.23 per $100 valuation on a homeowner’s property.

 

The budget, which board members also passed in a 6-0 vote, reflects a deficit of $1,214,397. The deficit is the result of the carry-forward of Maintenance Tax Note projects that were funded in 2016-2017 and will be completed in 2017-2018, according to Tim Sherrod, WFISD chief financial officer.

 

Budget highlights

  • Property values for the District were up $69.6 million, or 1.82 percent, over last year’s certified property values.
  • General Fund revenue rose $42,609 to $108,353,958, mainly due to public school finance funding changes.
  • General Fund expenses decreased by $901,740, to $110,313,104.
  • Spending per student decreased to $8,461. That is $32 less per student than the per-student funding last year.
  • Average Daily Attendance (ADA) was adjusted down for 2017-2018 to reflect actual attendance. The budget estimate used last year, of 13,095 students, was changed to 13,038 students, a reduction of 57 students.
  • Budgeted expenditures dropped from $111,214,844 to $110,313,104 due to budget cuts across departmental and campus budgets.
  • Total proposed Food Service revenues show an increase of $1.1 million, to $8,674,744, above the 2016-2017 budgeted revenues.  The increase was projected by Chartwells, the District’s new food service company, as the revenues they expected.
  • The only remaining bond projects from the $59.5 million school bond passed in May 2015 are second phase Safety and Security enhancements to existing schools.
  • Remaining projects in 2016-2017 include roofing and drainage projects, which precipitated the budget deficit.
  • The estimated Fund Balance of $25,305,080 on Sept. 1, 2017, is expected to drop to $24,090,683 by the end of the fiscal year on August 31, 2018, a reduction of $1,214,397.
  • In all, WFISD has outstanding debt of $126.5 million, payable through 2035.
  • The total market value of the WFISD property taxing zone is $6.2 billion.
  • The freeze adjusted taxable value is $3.8 billion.
  • Revenue generated from frozen taxes is $4.8 million.
  • The total taxable value for WFISD increased this year by 2.11 percent.
  • Each step to the Teacher Hiring Schedule rose by $200, and teachers were given another $200 for salary increases for the 2017-2018 school year. The rest of WFISD employees received a 1 percent pay raise.

 

Student honorees

Board members honored the following WFISD students whose achievements during the previous school year brought them state honors.

 

Orchestra State Music Qualifier

  • Alexis Nicolas, Hirschi High School

Band/Orchestra State Music Qualifier, Hirschi High School

  • Wenzdae Walker, Hirschi High School

Band/Orchestra State Music Qualifiers, Rider High School

  • Suraiya Alan, Mathew Castro, Julia Chon, Steven Crow, Greyson Esquibel, Aspen Fisher, Sydney Fosnaugh, Andrew Fry, Isaiah Ketchum, Trinity Kronlein, Jacob Obney, Madison O’Neal, Josh Rivard, Hagan Sanchez, Reilli Schell, Revin Schultz, Luke Schroeder, Marisa Smith, Matthew Spears, Caleigh Studer, Rebecca Templemeyer, Adam Turnbo, Victoria Parker, Mikayla Steele, Joseph Ward, Aaron Wheat, Rebekah Woodward, and Zayanna Uddin

Choir State Music Qualifiers, Rider High School

  • Elayna Anderson, Stephanie Anderson, Anna Au, Jaycee Bruner, Joshue Dehoyos, Aspen Fisher, Andrew Fry, Reid Gibson, Danielle Hardin, Aaron Hawkins, Carson Hollingsworth, Helicity Johnson, Trinity Kronlein, Brianna Lee, Ashton Mastalsz, Diane Nguyen, Camille Ramsey, Austin Taack, Vanessa Van, Cassandra White, Sydney Wisdom, and Rebekah Woodward.

State Music Qualifiers, Wichita Falls High School, Band:

  • Chloe Bata

State Music Qualifiers, Wichita Falls High School, Choir:

  • Ryan  Faulkner, Bayley Hawkins, Iza Hilmi, Caroline Presson, Annie Scales, Chase Shaw, Katie Smith, Alyssa Wilkins.

Outstanding Soloists, Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest

  • Elayna Anderson, Rider High School
  • Austin Taack, Rider High School
  • Caleigh Studer, Rider High School
  • Alyssa Wilkins, Wichita Falls High School

 

Staff honorees

Six WFISD staff members received state recognition recently for top performance in their jobs. They were nominated for these honors by their peers.

  • Letitia Willis was named by Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association (TEPSA) as Region 9 Assistant Principal of the Year. In spring 2017, Mrs. Willis served as the Interim Principal at Southern Hills Elementary. She currently serves as the WFISD Early Learning Principal.
  • Dr. Cody Blair was named by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) as the Region 9 Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year. He is the former associate principal at Rider High School and the current Barwise Middle School principal.
  • Dee Palmore was named by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) as Region 9 Outstanding Principal of the Year. Mr. Palmore is a 21-year administrator who has headed the leadership team at Rider High School since 2014.
  • Frank Murray received the Digital Leadership Award by the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Mr. Murray is the assistant director of technology and was honored for his extraordinary effectiveness. He has trained teachers for 11 years.
  • Shannon Kuhrt was recognized for serving as the 2017 Texas Statewide Network of Assessment Professionals (TSNAP) President. She is serving a one-year term. It is her fifth year in statewide service. Mrs. Kuhrt is WFISD’s assessment director.
  • Dr. Travis Armstrong was honored for serving as the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) President-elect. He will help set and lead the association’s strategic direction. Dr. Armstrong was recently promoted to the position of Director of Early Learning for WFISD from his prior position as assistant director of special education.

 

A student winner

Andi Newberry, Hirschi High School senior, won the WFISD Food Truck Design Challenge. She was awarded a $500 check courtesty of Chartwells for her design.

 

Career Education Center update

There were 1,242 students who attended the Career Education Center on its first day when it opened August 17, just four days ago. Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths gave board members a monthly summary of construction progress at the finished facility.

 

Workers are tying up loose ends as students now fill the building, he said. There were 342 students attending from Hirschi High School, 448 from Rider High School, and 452 from Wichita Falls High School. Chartwells, the District’s new food service provider, provided grab-and-go food for students at the new facility.

 

The CEC was designed to serve 500 students at any point during the school day. So to see 1,242 students attending classes there, “it’s more than we ever imagined,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhrt. “It’s awesome that students are utilizing everything it has to offer.”

 

Transportation continues nonstop throughout the school day to bring students to the Center. Or, students are driving themselves. “This community knew what they were doing,” said Mr. Kuhrt, when it financed a building like this.

 

When construction began, the 2017-2018 school start date was August 28; circumstances during the past year moved the school start date up to August 17, necessitating that the building be done earlier than planned, said Mr. Griffiths. It was a challenge, he said.

 

A few projects still need attention: high humidity in the building, landscaping, and the building of a greenhouse. Finish date for these final projects is expected to be the end of September or early October.

 

Mr. Griffiths thanked “the grunts” – the team of people with the heaviest involvement in the building: Trinity Hughes/Sundt, Corgan Architects, Baker Architects, Arcadium, KT Furniture, Michelle Wood, and Synthia Kirby. He also thanked Brady Woolsey, executive director of operations, for bringing his maintenance crew into the building for some finish work. He also acknowledged Jason Shawn, who worked tirelessly getting the audio visual equipment working, and Bobby Teague and his crew from the City of Wichita Falls, who made timely inspections.

 

Policy update

In a 6-0 vote, board members approved the addition of CQA (LOCAL) to address compliance with accessibility to the WFISD website.

 

Debby Patterson, executive director of school administration, submitted a policy revision of FDB (LOCAL) to board members. The new wording removes the opt-out process except on a “very limited basis” and revises the current transfer process with minor changes.

 

Applicant pool

In a 6-0 vote, board members approved the four new hires and one contract change. The hires brought in four teachers new to the District with a total of nine years experience.

 

Consent agenda

In a 6-0 vote, board members approved the Consent Agenda, which included:

  • Waiver to bypass the teacher portal of the Texas Assessment Management System
  • Resolution regarding extracurricular status of 4-H organization
  • Resale bids of property located within WFISD
  • Financial reports as of June 30, 2017
  • Bid #17-37 Trades bid
  • RFP #17-38 Pest Control
  • RFP #17-47 Catalog bid for library books
  • RFP #17-48 Catalog bid for library supplies
  • RFP #17-49 Unleaded Gasoline and Diesel Fuel purchase and delivery
  • #RFP #17-50 Percentage Off Catalog: Athletic Supplies, equipment
  • Minutes
  • Personnel report