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Huntington ISD board amends tax rate
The Huntington ISD Board of Trustees held a public meeting to set its 2019-20 tax rate, budget and compensation plan during a Monday evening meeting. The board set a tax rate of $1.3422 at its June meeting. The rate included a maintenance and operation rate of $1.17. However, House Bill 3 required school districts to reduce their M&O rates to $1.0684, but the timing for HISD was off because it is a July 1 budget, and the legislation hadn’t been clarified in time.
“As we shared last month, with the timing of the governor signing HB3, getting everything together and having to run the public notice in the paper, we had to run the $1.17 M&0 tax rate, knowing we would be coming back to correct it,” Superintendent David Flowers said.
The board amended this rate during its public hearing, setting the official 2019-20 tax rate to $1.2406 with an M&O of $1.0684 and an interest and sinking rate of 17.22 cents.
The I&S rate is down from 28 cents in 2017-18 and 20.01 cents in 2018-19.
The board amended its 2019-20 general fund budget to $16.7 million, up $650,000 from the June meeting but down by $1.6 million from last year.
The board also approved a compensation rate of 41% to raise salaries of all employees. HB3 requires districts to give at least 30% of its new money in compensation to employees. At least 75% of that 30% should go to teachers, counselors, librarians and resident nurses, and a recommended 25% should go to all other employees but administrators.
“When you look at the legislature, it said good faith estimate,” Flowers said. “New monies that we were going to receive showed from $1.88 million to $1.9 million to $2 million from the state. We did the good faith and based that on $2 million.”
The district will divvy up $820,00, 41% of $2 million, in compensation to staff.
“Teachers are going to receive between 6 to 9% increases, and all other staff excluding administrators will receive between 4 to 7%,” Flowers said.
Athletic director Shawn Jones gave the athletics report to the board. He noted that five of six major sports made it to the playoffs this year and 10 of 14 teams advanced past the first round.
“We think that’s from continually raising our expectations in our work ethic, accountability, character development, and we’ve seen success across our program that we haven’t seen as a program in the last 40 years,” Jones said. “We continually encourage our kids to invest in themselves and Huntington High School.”
Jones said academic eligibility is at a record rate with 2018-19 being one of the lowest rates of athletes becoming ineligible. Jones credits this to better communication among teachers, athletes and coaches in addition to athletes taking more ownership in understanding that being a student comes before being an athlete.
Flowers said that one sophomore was contacted by the University of California in Los Angeles over the summer because of her recent success at state, breaking a record in hurdles.
“We expect a lot more in the coming years by continually raising expectations and beliefs,” Jones said. “From the day I got here, I saw that we have to change belief, we have to change expectation, culture, environment. I think that’s changing, and it’s certainly showing up in our sports, but it’s nowhere near where it can be or should be.”
During open forum, David Wheeler spoke to the board, praising the district for how his kids have thrived while they have attended HISD.
Flowers said the district is fully staffed but for the athletic director’s secretary. He also suggested that the board meet at one of the facilities on campus to tour and see what updates need to be done for future projects.
The district’s opening convocation will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 6. Meet the Devils will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12. Meet the Teacher will be held on Aug. 13.
Grace Juarez’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.