Canton ISD to keep tax rate steady for 12th year

The Canton ISD School Board held their final meeting July 30 before the start of the 2018-’19 school year set to begin Aug. 20.  On the agenda during the July 30 meeting was approving the 2018-’19 tax rate, discussing school security and construction updates.

This is the 12th consecutive year that Canton ISD has kept the tax rate the same. The board approved a total tax rate of $1.471 broken down as: maintenance and operations, $1.04 and interest and sinking, $0.431.

“We have kept the tax rate the same and have done a lot of capital projects and construction. We have grown our fund balance each year,” said Superintendent Jay Tullos.

The board also approved a proposed budget for the 2018-’19 school year. Superintendent Jay Tullos said it was “important to remember that the budget is presented without conversation on the tax rate. They theory is that the budget represents what the district needs and that the tax rate should support the needs of the district. Put another way, the budget should drive the tax rate, not vice versa.”

In the general fund, the budget is $16,892,537; food service fund, $742,495; and debt service, $3,248,603.

Superintendent Tullos gave an update on the actions taken by the board to improve school security.

“We want to inform parents about what we are doing regarding school safety. We will be putting out a letter soon to inform the parents on the steps that we have taken.  We have always had administrators and one police officer at school activities. Now, we are going to have two officers,” stated Tullos.

Tullos remarked that safety measures such as adding to the district’s police force, renovation of campus entryways, adding an App that will be connected to DPS Troopers, an  tip line and other measures were taken by the board.

“The biggest thing is that we started our police department with one officer. This year, we are going to add Officer Heath Burton.  Mr. Tom Baker has donated a K-9 to us. That is going to be huge, to have a dog to use as a deterrent, especially at the high school,” said Tullos.

Upcoming dates

The first day of school for Canton ISD will be Monday, Aug. 20. Meet the Teacher will be from 6-7 p.m. Aug. 16 for Canton Elementary and Intermediate Schools.

Construction

The construction on the parking lot and walkway between the Intermediate and High School continues with final concrete work. “We think that will hold an additional 30-40 cars. We are hoping to get those cars off of Highway 243,” said Supt. Tullos.

The board also:

—Approved a TASB Police Update 111;

—Approved revisions to local policies concerning the district’s compensation and benefits leave and absences policy;

—Approved revisions concerning the district’s academic achievement class rank policy;

—Approved the consent agenda, consisting of meeting minutes from June 25, financial and status reports, budget status reports, tax collection reports, the quarterly investment report and the 2018-’19 T-Tess Appraisers. Annually, the board is required to approve personnel who will appraise teachers for the upcoming school year;

—Approved a budget amendment for $5,800. The budget amendment will allow Canton ISD to accept the donation of a K-9 dog for the district’s police department;

—Supt. Tullos informed the board that an additional $267,000 was found by the district’s finance company. Tullos said that the funds were from 2014-’15 and due to filing errors by the district’s previous finance company;

—Approved the Canton ISD 2018-’19 Student Code of Conduct;

—Approved the 2018-’19 Personnel Handbook;

—Reviewed and approved all of the Campus Handbooks for 2018-’19;

—Reviewed and approved the Athletic Policy and Guideline booklet for 2018-’19;

—Approved a revision to the Canton ISD clerical/paraprofessional salary scales. The district made adjustments to the lowest level pay scale amount to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

—The board approved adjustments to the way they will be paying retire/rehire employees. Retire/rehire employees will be paid the state minimum plus $2,000 on their years of experience and the district will also pay the fees that go along with retire/rehire.