RED OAK — Following the proposed bond failing to receive the community support needed to pass during the May election cycle, Red Oak ISD will operate under a "tight" budget for the upcoming school year.
During their regular session held Monday, June 26, the ROISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a surplus budget for the 2017-18 school year.
“It’s going to be tight with the bond failure, but we will continue to serve the students of our district,” ROISD Superintendent Michael Goddard said.
Vickie Benbow, ROISD chief financial officer, presented the budget to the trustees.
“When developing the 2017-18 budget, the district was motivated by four priorities," said Benbow as she began the presentation. "ROISD will commit to the child by providing social, emotional, and physical support in addition to academics."
Benbow explained that, among the budget priorities, were a “plan for anticipated growth while maintaining the highest level of excellence, allocate resources effectively and efficiently, prioritize the distribution of funds and address both academic and operational functions and promote community involvement.”
Demographic changes of students, property values, staffing, student needs, weighted average daily attendance and long-term debt management are all factors that are significant in the annual budget process, Benbow explained.
Benbow also noted that without the additional funds sought by the district through a bond issuance, ROISD would need to order portable classrooms in the spring of 2018 to have them ready for the start of school in the fall of 2018.
The 2018 budget will also include the communications upgrade for the district’s police department. These are necessary upgrades will allow those in the department to communicate with local and county law enforcement agencies.
Benbow noted that some of the needs that will be delayed include heating and air conditioning replacements, expansion of the classroom revolution program at the high school and elementary levels, and computer replacement that were scheduled in the district's five-year plan.
The proposed budget, as presented, totaled $53,691,528, which is a decrease from the 2016-17 budget.
Following a public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate, Benbow gave a presentation of the 2017-18 tax rate.
"We are proposing a tax rate of $1.17 for maintenance and $0.37 for debt service. This brings us a total of $1.54 per $100 of valuation," Benbow said. "Increases in taxes will come from increases in valuations from the appraisal district."
Goddard added, “This is a real commendation of this district being able to hold the (tax) rate since 2011."
Although the district will also see increases in tax revenues from businesses due to rising values, state funding for ROISD will be reduced. Triumph Industries will continue to receive a tax credit for the purposes of Maintenance and Operations tax. however, as part of the 10-year Chapter 313 agreement.
ROISD Special Educations Director Rachel Kistner recognized local businesses, ROISD Little Hawks Learning Center, Ace Hardware, Brookshire’s, and Snippers, for their sponsorship of the Elevate program.
Goddard introduced three new administrators to the district. Patrick Torres will fill the role as the assistant superintendent of career and innovation. Before coming to Red Oak, Torres served as principal at Saginaw High School.
The second introduction was Garry Gorman, who will fill the position of executive director of elementary learning. Gorman comes from the Prosper school district where he was principal of Baker Elementary.
The last introduction was the district's new fine arts director, Rob Meyers.
“I received several calls saying 'I can’t believe you got Rob Meyers,'” Goddard said. Before joining the Red Oak Staff, Myers was the coordinator of fine arts for Arlington ISD.
In other business, the trustees approved a representation agreement between the district and Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd and Hullett, P.C for the latter to serve as the district's legal representation.