School District Proposes Same Tax Rate As Last Year

jeffersonisdBy BOB PALMER
Jimplecute Editor

Jefferson ISD trustees voted to propose a combined tax rate of $1.128407 per $100 valuation at their meeting Tuesday.

The rate is the same as the one set in 2017.

Trustees designated 6 p.m. Aug. 28 for a public hearing on the district’s budget and tax rate. The rate can not become final until after the hearing.

The proposed rate includes $1.04 for maintenance and operations and 8.8407 cents for interest and sinking.

Superintendent Rob Barnwell said $11 million budget being developed by the district’s administration has few surprises.

“It balanced,” Barnwell told the board. “There are no secrets in this thing.”

Purchase of a new school bus could upset the plan.

“If that happens we would have to take the money out of fund balance,” Barnwell said.

“We used to buy three buses a year, then two, then one,” Trustee J.P. Abernathy said.

The district’s operation director, Jack Smith, advised the board Tuesday, he would not recommend buying a bus this year.

Smith did note several buses had new engines and at least three buses were rated as being in poor condition.

“We move 644 students daily,” Smith said.

Buses in the poorest condition are used to shuttle students from one campus to another and kept off routes. The newest buses were reserved for road trips by groups like the football team.

“Eventually will have to pull trip buses and extracurricular buses and put them on the routes,” Smith warned.

Barnwell said they could consider a new bus later in the year.

Trustees also moved closer toward beginning new classroom construction by adopting a purchasing method not requiring public bids and naming the Job Order Contractor.

Barnwell urged the board to adopt a resolution allowing the district to use the Job Order Contracting procurement method.

“It should prove to provide the best value for the district,” Barnwell said.

The board designated Contech as the contractor for the classroom project. Contech is part of the Region 8 ESC interlocal purchasing agreement. Gary Douglas and Myron Stringer with Contech were on hand to answer questions.

Trustees also adopted a resolution designating the prevailing wage rate for the project.

The process has been educational, Barnwell said.

“I feel we are being led in right direction by some pretty knowledgeable folks,” Barnwell said.

Trustee Leah Cooper offered some guidance to Douglas and Stringer.

“We want good, solid building, but not a show place,” Cooper said.

Other action included designation of classroom appraisers and the district’s concussion oversight team.

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