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Kerens ISD adopts lower tax rate

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KERENS–Kerens ISD trustees voted Aug. 16 to adopt a 2021 property tax rate that totals $1.192 per $100 in taxable value but raises more money because of increased property values.
The 2020 tax rate was $1.2291, which included $.9091 for maintenance and operations coupled with 32 cents for debt service. The new tax rate is the same for debt service but the maintenance and operations portion falls to $0.8720. Superintendent Martin Brumit said that decrease was the lowest tax levy drop allowed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
The board also approved renewing the school’s District of Innovation Plan with TEA for the next five years. Superintendent Martin Brumit said the original plan was approved four years ago and gives the district discretion on the school calendar and waiving students missing class for extracurricular activities in relation to the state’s 90% attendance mandate.
Another facet of the District of Innovation Plan exempts schools from the state’s 22:1 student-teacher ratio and class size limits. Brumit said because those classes have one aide present, the district “never really exceed(s)” the ratio.
The board also approved refinancing $5.9 million worth of construction bonds issued in 2018 that will result in $1.3 million worth of savings over the life of the bonds, said Business Manager Jim Kendall. The refinance will require a $570,000 contribution from the school to kickstart the process, Kendall said, which he said will officially close in early September.
Also approved was paying the architects, engineers and builders of the bond-funded campus improvement projects, which includes a new secondary school. Berry and Clay Construction, along with Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong, were issued payment No. 28 totaling $175,840.27. Brumit said the district is about $350,000 away from having the construction paid off.

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