LHISD Board considers tax history, renews Superintendent’s contract

As Liberty Hill ISD administrators prepare a spending plan for fiscal 2013, school trustees on Monday reviewed a history of the district’s tax rates and property values spanning 20 years.

Business Manager Frank Watson presented the school board with a comparison of tax rates for maintenance and operations as well as  debt service dating back to 1993. Trustees also saw a history of the Fund Balance and the role it played in the district’s total expenditures over the same period of time.

“As the trend shows, a year or two after the bond elections, tax rates come down due to growth and (increase in property) values,” he said, noting the tax rates following the bond elections to build the current high school and Bill Burden Elementary School.

Liberty Hill voters passed an $85.5 million bond package in 2010 to build a new high school and athletic complex, and renovate and expand existing campuses.

While Watson said he was not yet prepared to present budget numbers for the Board’s consideration, he said property values and enrollment are up in the school district.

“It looks like we are coming out of two lean years,” added Superintendent Rob Hart.

Watson said trustees can expect more budget information at their meeting in July. By then, the district should have more accurate information regarding actions taken by the Legislature this spring regarding school finance.

Trustees voted Monday to authorize the issuance of variable rate unlimited tax refunding bonds, which administrators say will be a cost savings for the district and allow the tax on debt service to remain below the state-capped $0.50 per $100 property valuation.

“The value growth is there and now is a good time to do that,” said Hart. He compared the action to refinancing the debt on a residence.

Also Monday, the Board approved:

* A Memorandum of Understanding with Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program for the 2013-2014 academic year.

* An amendment to a policy striking a requirement to provide evidence of a student’s screening for Tuberculosis — a test that Hart said is only required now in school districts along the Texas-Mexico border.

Following a 50-minute executive session, the Board approved a one-year extension of the Superintendent’s employment contract.

The Board also approved the resignations of the following: Sarah Baulch, athletic trainer; Jamie Bell, second grade; Debbie Bourn, third grade; Jill DeHoyos, second grade; Michael Rios, LHJH Spanish teacher/coach; Adam Stagman, recently hired for LHHS math/soccer coach; Stephanie Thielepape, instructional technologist.

The Board approved the employment of the following: Darren Bauer, LHHS math/soccer coach; Samuel Burlison, LHHS science/coach; Angela Butler, speech language pathologist; Ronald Hawkins, LHHS English/coach; Shelia Leath, elementary special education; Mayra Maldonado, LHHS Spanish; John Mason, seventh grade math/coach; Christine Parker, speech language pathologist; Pilar Pinkus, JH Spanish; Alicia Sprinkle, second grade; Sarah Janicek, eighth grade math; and Wendy Wiley-Pleak, second grade.