School district praised for salary increases

Special to the PRESS

The March 29 meeting of the Point Isabel Independent School District Board of Trustees began with the Executive Director, Adina Alegria of the Texas Valley Educators Association, addressing the board.

Alegria wished to applaud the board for their decisions in increasing employee salaries over the last year, as well as to encourage them to do so again this year. She referenced the rising cost in gas, rent, and even groceries as a driving reason to continue salary increases into the next financial year.

Following this address, the board continued with a presentation picking up where the previous budget workshop left off. The first budget item they looked at was increasing the stipend for regional and state meets of multiple organizations including groups such as the chess club and DECA.

This stipend would be increased to $100 for making it to the meet and an additional $25 per student that advanced. The stipends would be paid from the district-wide funds. This would be a first for this district and others in the region.

The board also reviewed enrollment trends district-wide. The graph showed a drop of 39 students from 2021 to 2022. This trend has been slightly consistent for the past five years as each year has seen a drop in students, district-wide.

The district is anticipating a drop that would be consistent with these numbers for 2022 to 2023, which would be a drop of about 80 students. The district also showed that over the previous year, it gained four new teachers, specifically for the ACE program. These numbers are provided to assist the board in creating the most conservative budget they can.

The board then looked into two propositions that are being voted on in the May 7 election. Proposition One would ensure disabled and/or over the age of 65 homeowners would see a reduction in their property tax bill due to tier One M&O rate compression established under HB Three. If approved, this bill would take effect in 2023 and includes state aid to offset property tax losses.

Proposition Two, if passed, would increase the resident homestead provision from $25,000 to $40,000 beginning in the 2022 Tax Year. The last time this provision was increased was in 2015 when it went from $15,000 to $25,000. Texas State School Districts currently levy a property and maintenance tax made of two tiers and two levels. Only tier one is subject to the compression this proposition would bring if property values rise more than five percent in the year.

After discussing this proposition, the board began to look at changes to the compensation stipend for the band programs. This stipend would provide assistant band directors, regardless of high school or junior high, an additional $8,000 and head band directors an additional $10,000.

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