The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees met Thursday in a special meeting. They heard a presentation from Chief Financial Officer for the District Nick Williams on the proposed budget for 2015-2016. It was reported that the administration is proposing a deficit budget of $565,187. This is the third year in a row that the district has adopted a deficit budget, however, it is important to note that the deficit being proposed this year is the least of the 3 years. Last year the district adopted a budget with a deficit of $1.1 Million dollars, however, it was noted that it appears the district could come in much better that the proposed deficit at the end of the year which is August 31.
Some factors to remember while looking at the budget being proposed is the district had to restructure Carver to house some programs including the technology portion of the district after the spring rains flooded the annex building. The district also is operating with one less campus this school year, as the Intermediate campus was taken off line to allow for remodeling and renovation of the building, all 400 plus students at the Intermediate school has been moved to Cactus, which has gone well according to school administration. It was also noted that there was considerable reductions in funding from the state based on enrollment due to choices made by Children’s Hope in moving their students out of the district, No Salary Increases is included in the current proposed budget and the Contingency Incentive Stipend was also removed from the proposed budget. It was also noted that the State had discontinued the state assistance with the Teacher Retirement System meaning that more local money will have to be put into the system.
Trustees also discussed the tax rate which is very dependent on property values. In years that property values go up, property tax rates generally go down and in years property values go down, the property tax rates go up. That will be the case this year for most all taxing entities in Hockley County. Looking at Property Values assessed by the Hockley County Appraisal office totaled $1.4 Million that is down $400,000 from last year. School districts for maintenance and operations are locked in at $1.04 per $100 property value without an election by voters. The tax rate to pay the bond payments for the bond issues approved by voters is proposed at .26.8 cents per $100 property value while last years rate was 20.6 cents. Most of that is due to the decrease in property values. After some discussion the trustees adopted the 26.8 cent rate bringing the total tax rate to $1.31 cents per $100 property value.
KLVT News has examined the full notice of budget and tax rate released by LISD. Based on that information, the average taxable value of a residence in the LISD taxing district this year is $69,714 which is down from last year. The main reason for the decrease is the additional $10,000 homestead exemption which was passed by the state legislature this year and will be voted on by voters in November. If that additional exemption is approved the total taxes due on an average residence in LISD would be $912.14 in 2015-2016 which is down $22.39 from last year even with the higher tax rate.
It is also important to note the budget adopted by the Board of Trustees is showing a 6.69% decrease in expenditures from this year and a 7.6% decrease in Maintenance and Operations, both sizable reductions.