LISD approves 15-cent tax cut
By LPR Staff
After several months of debate, negotiation and number crunching, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees approved the district budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, only three days before the mandated deadline for budget approval.
Through Monday night, several budget issues remained a cause for concern to several board membe
rs, including an inequity in the pay scale in certain departments, and requests for pay raises within those departments.
“We paid for the survey,” said Trustee Timoteo “Tim” Juarez of a salary survey and recommendations purchased by the district earlier this year. “We tried to build the budgets and approve the salaries in line with that… If we start changing things now, we”re going to bring back those inequities that we were trying to fix.”
The main bone of contention, with regard to pay scales, was the fact that certain employees did not receive any pay raise at all, while others received upwards of four percent, all told. Although the decision did not sit well with some board members, it was understood that the action was necessary to balance the pay scales.
“I”ve been looking at this, and I want to make sure that in the near future, we have the chance to give raises to the people that didn”t get any raise, or didn”t get the full 3 percent that we tried to give, this year,” said Trustee John Manning. The rest of the board agreed with his stipulation and approved the budget.
With the changes in school finance at the state level, the Lockhart ISD will be receiving an increase in state funding this year, which has helped the district to ease the tax burden on local citizens. Around $12 million of the district”s budget will be drawn from local taxpayers, while the remainder of the $31 million budget will be supplied by Federal and state government sources.
The changes will result in a reduction from $1.50 per $100 of valuation to $1.37 per $100 for the district”s Maintenance and Operations budget tax rate, and a decrease from $0.19 per $100 to $0.17 per $100 – a total reduction of 15 cents from the district”s tax rate.
In other board business, several parents addressed the board with respect to a recent decision that the Lockhart High School Roaring Lion Marching Band had to forego one hour of practice per week because a parent complained about the children being exposed to the heat. The parents, who support the band”s need for every moment of practice they can get, asked the board to look into the decision and do what is right, not for the one student in specific, but for the organization on the whole.
The board convened into two separate executive sessions, one to discuss the decision of Superintendent Dr. John Hall to allow a student to transfer into the district, and again to discuss the possibility of offering Hall a raise. After just under an hour of executive discussion, the board upheld Hall”s decision to allow the student, who may have been a discipline problem in the past, to attend an LISD school, and to give Hall a 3-percent pay raise.
The LISD board of Trustees will meet again on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center (old library) at #1 Lion Country Drive.