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LISD Board will hold public hearing August 30

The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees will meet Tuesday, August 30, at 6 p.m. in the Administration Building board room to hold a public hearing on the 2016-17 budget, hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate for the 2016-17 year, adopt the 2016-17 budget, consider an ordinance levying a tax rate for 2016, and to consider a budget amendment.
The budget includes a three percent pay increase for employees and a $1.408 tax rate per $100 of property value.
The budget reduced maintenance and operations by $4 million from the 2015-16 year to $10.85 million. The debt service is reduced by $135,042 to $3.7 million.
The district staff decreased by 16 positions through attrition, saving the district $800,000, said financial officer Lance Terrell at the July 14 meeting.
The student travel budget increased to allow each student $8 per meal while on trips through LISD.
The budget also includes a significant reduction in the budget deficit from the year prior. 
The tax rate is a 9.96 cents increase from the tax rate in 2015-16 of $1.3084. According to Terrell, this is due to a significant drop in assessed property values, “especially in regards to minerals,” forcing the district to increase their debt service tax rate to meet debt obligations.
The assessed taxable values in LISD decreased from $1.4 billion in 2015 to an even $1 billion in 2016. The assessed taxable values were just under $1.8 billion in 2015 and 2014.
In the budget workshop at the July 14 meeting, Terrell noted that ASATR funding will be ending next September. In 2006, when property tax rates were reduced by one-third, the legislature guaranteed school districts the ability to maintain at least the same level of per-student funding for weighted daily average attendance as received for the 2005-06 school year, creating Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR). In 2015-16, the district received $4 million and expects to receive around the same amount for this school year.
“Our worst case scenario would be operating an $18 million budget on $14 million,” Terrell said.
“When the price of oil is down, not only do we have less money, but they have less money,” Terrell said.
However, he is hopeful that the district won’t need the money from ASATR in the future.
“Assuming property values stabilize, we won’t need it,” Terrell said.
Over the past nine years, the debt service tax rate has increased from $.1168 to the proposed rate of $.378. The proposed budget if adopted will decrease the fund balance by $135,193. In the 2015-16 school year, the district was faced with a $861,464 budget deficit. The board plans to finish out the 2016-17 year with a deficit of $500,000, a 41.96 percent decrease.
Expenditures by the district totaled $24.49 million, with 71 percent of expenditures going to payroll and 16.07 percent going to contracted services. The other categories included 4.51 percent to general supplies, 2.93 percent for other expenditures, .37 percent to the debt service, .52 percent to capital outlay and 4.40 percent for transfers to other funds. The proposed budget will cut capital outlay by 100 percent from the 2015-16 school year.
“We have newer buildings, we shouldn’t need it,” Terrell said  at the July 14 board meeting.
The budget includes a $53,285 increase for expenditures in athletics, from $900,594 in 2015-16 to $953,879 in 2016-17. This includes the student meal travel increase.
Also, at the special meeting, the board may retire into executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel issues.

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