At pesent funding levels, the Royse City Independent School District will be forced to raise its tax rate in the upcoming year in order to meet budget needs.

The issue was decided at a special meeting of the school board held last Tuesday just prior to its joint meeting with the Royse City City Council.

Currently, the district is assessing a tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation. This consists of $1.04 in maintenance and operation as well as 39 cents in interest and sinking. The school board approved a new rate of $1.56. The new rate includes an increase to $1.17 in the maintenance and operation assessment. There was no change in debt service amounts.

While the new tax rate constitutes a significant increase, board members were quick to point out that the district underwent significant steps to cut costs going into the new year. The administration office went from four associate superintendents down to two. The schools endured numerous cuts in coaching and teaching staffs, and the high school cut a ful 15 percent.

Total expenditures for the district in the 2010-11 year are an estimated $35,359,586. At current taxing rates, the district would have suffered a defecit of $1,089,359. That is before a possible state-mandated pay raise for teachers, which is currently being debated at the state attorney general’s office. If the pay raise is approved, it will cost the district an additional $287,000. There are no pay schedule changes in the proposed district budget, with only mandatory step increases for district instructors.

The cause of the difficulty can quickly be seen when reviewing the returns to the district from the appraisal offices that cover the district’s taxable base in Rockwall, Hunt and Collin Counties.

The preliminary values rate the district’s taxable property at $1,004,455,078. That represents a decrease in property values throughout the district of more than $13 million.

The increase in the tax rate is expected to generate slightly more than $2 million in additional funds for the district.

This is expected to cover the defecit that might run up to $1.5 million.

A public hearing is tentatively planned for the school board on the new tax rate on July 26. The last date to publish a notice of public hearing is July 16.

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