The El Campo ISD board of trustees approved its total tax rate and 2019-2020 general operating budget Tuesday with the district in the black.

After holding a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget, the board unanimously approved a total tax rate of $1.1264 comprised of a maintenance and operations tax of $1.0684 and a sinking and interest rate (debt service) of $0.0580. The current ECISD tax rate is $1.208.

The average taxable value of a residence within the district is $121,580. At this tax rate, the tax bill would be $1,369.48, an increase of $69.67 as compared to last year.

The district’s revenue budget is $39,543,878 and its expenditure budget is $38,610,371. The budget was based on the certified freeze-adjusted taxable value of $1,238,349,729 and a refined average daily attendance (ADA) of 3,366 students.

Local revenue decreased by $44,625 while state revenue increased by $44,086,408 in the general fund. This increase in state funding is due to the passage of House Bill 3 (HB3). Federal revenue will remain the same.

“We’re currently projecting $34,438,898 in general fund expenditures and a surplus of $2,345,013,” David Bright, assistant superintendent over finance, told the board.

Approximately 74 percent of expenditures are for payroll and benefits.

The district budgeted $865,061 for expenditures that include the purchase of five school buses, a fresh air handler for the A Building at the high school, technology equipment, a tractor and other needs identified by the facilities committee. Needs identified by the committee total $921,600. Around $367,000 in projects was added to the 2019-2020 budget.

The fresh air handler ranked ninth in a list of Top 10 district projects recommended by the committee at a cost of $100,000. High school restrooms ($30,000, installed over five years), exterior lighting at Myatt Elementary ($10,000) and the relocation of the front office check-in window at Hutchins Elementary for security ($6,000) were also part of the Top 10.

High-priority, big ticket-items on that list like the H Building ($2.1 million) and the cafeteria ($2.6 million) at the high school would have to be covered by a bond if the district does not receive a safe dome.

The district will continue to look at climate control to reduce mold, mildew and humidity damage throughout the district. Many items were listed as “wait” such as repainting the auditorium ($44,000), fourth on the list, and high school locker rooms, weight room and storage for which the district is waiting for estimates, ranked fifth and sixth.

Other projects that made it into the 2019-2020 budget are: lockable doors for Hallway A, exterior lighting, fencing and tint/wrap for Life Skills windows, all at Hutchins; flooring around restroom and hand wash station and additional sidewalk at Myatt; cafeteria wrap and furniture and an additional sidewalk at the middle school; administration building flooring; move ticketing window to face entrance gate at the ballpark; news signs at each elementary; and, chip and seal the high school parking lot.

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