Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 23, 2013

Proposed Rusk school budget to reflect cost-of-living increase

'Seventy-five percent of our budget is personnel – that's the lion's share' -- Rusk ISD Superintendent Scott Davis

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — Next Thursday, residents living within the boundaries of Rusk ISD will have an opportunity to give input on a proposed $17,992,160 budget for the upcoming school year during a noon public hearing.

The meeting, slated Aug. 29 at the school board meeting room, will be followed by a regular meeting of school board members, who will vote on the proposed budget and an accompanying $1.1525 tax rate.

According to district superintendent Dr. Scott Davis, “Seventy-five percent of our budget is personnel – that's the lion's share,” with operating expenses, utilities and supplies comprising the remaining 25 percent.

Compared to last year, he said, the 2013-2014 budget “is slightly higher, roughly half a million dollars more” – in part, the increase is attributed to a 5 percent employee pay raise.

Health insurance premiums are going to go up (so) it's a cost of living adjustment” for employees that will help them be able to cover health costs, he said. “Plus, it's money that is added to each individual step on our salary schedule.”

The budget “is a very standard” one, reflecting ongoing academic initiatives regarding staff development, Davis said. “There's nothing special in there like technology acquisition or building projects.”

The proposed $1.15215 per $100 property valuation is the same as last year, reflecting no increase. However, because it affects taxpayers, the rate is publicized and voted upon; “it's about truth in taxation,” the superintendent said.

The rate is the sum of a Maintenance and Operations tax rate (in this case, $1.04) and an Interest and Sinking Rate of 11.25 cents.

If adopted next week, the budget goes into effect on Sept. 1.