Mason County News
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School Board Considers Tax Swap Proposal
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • Posted June 25, 2008

The Mason I.S.D. Board of Trustees met in a regularly called meeting on Monday, June 16th at 6:00 p.m. in the Elementary School Library. A rather lengthy agenda was discussed with the tax rate for the 2008-09 school year being the centerpiece of the meeting.

The proposal will call for a rollback election to take place in October in order to maximize state funding in this year as well as subsequent years. Mason I.S.D. currently administers two tax rates. The first rate funding the district’s maintenance and operating budget ($1.04), while the second rate funds the payment to meet the debt obligations approved in May of 2004. (.0975) A vote by the citizens residing within the Mason I.S.D. boundaries could enable the district to combine these rates. This would allow the school district to receive an additional $200,000 in state funds for the upcoming tax year without changing the overall tax rate for the residents of Mason ISD. The district would also be ahead of the financial curve leading into a legislative year in which school finance will be a hot topic.

Board member Shannon Worrell asked what the consequences would be should the election fail. Superintendent Matt Underwood explained that Mason I.S.D. has set aside over $600,000 to meet an early pay off date for the debt obligation. Currently the district is on schedule to relieve this debt obligation in ten years rather than the originally approved twenty years. With the tax swap proposal the target date for loan payoff would move from 2014 to 2015.

Board President Helen Dockal pointed out the fact that this information must be readily shared and in a straight forward format in order to gain the support of the community. The board voted 5-0 (Tina Cantu was absent) to propose the tax rate for Maintenance and Operation at $1.1375 per $100 valuation for the public notice to be posted prior to the budget hearing on July 28th. There was no Interest and Sinking tax rate proposed. This rate is a decrease from 2007-08 of 1.25 cents.

In other business, a proposal to add Girl’s Softball as another spring sport was presented by Kim Hengst, Sammy Martinez and Jackie Doss. A possible cost projection was shared with the board and brief presentations were made by the three participants. Board member Jeff Owen expressed his concern with adding more transportation to an already rising transportation budget. The issue was tabled for further discussion.

The board also heard a construction report regarding the science/art classroom additions. Delays to the project have been due to a backlog of construction steel. The pre-cut building should be delivered within the next two weeks. Renovation to the existing Home Economics classroom have continued as scheduled and should be ready for the 2008-09 school year.

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