Crosby ISD votes for property tax increase

CROSBY – The local school board, by a 6 to1 vote, called for an election on Dec. 12 to ratify a tax increase of about $100 per year on $100,000 property.

The increase (from $1.04 to $1.17) is in Maintenance and Operations, the portion of the school budget that deals with salaries, instructional equipment, supplies, fixing roofs but does not deal with existing debt from bond elections or building new facilities. That last portion, the Interest and Sinking, the board voted to decrease from 30¢ to 27¢ per 100 valuation. This was enabled by the increasing property values and increasing numbers of new property owners.

The total overall rate currently is $1.34, and the proposed rate is $1.44 per $100 valuation of property.

At the sparsely attended Sept. 21 meeting of the Crosby ISD School Board, Marley Morris, Principal of Crosby High School, presented a 4 minute video clip that dealt with some of the new instructional equipment that is lacking for students at Crosby High. One of the primary expenses calling for the increase is $2.1 million dollars in new technology equipment and a $300,000 budgeted annually for technology upgrades.

Morris’ video outlined that while SAT scores at Crosby High are now averaging 1027 and over 1000 for the last 10 years, they are behind for example in number of LCD Projectors, (the new equivalent of the chalkboard of 30 years ago. The LCD is a device that can link to information and tools on the Internet and become part of the classroom instruction.)

Superintendent Mike Joseph explained the need for 15 new buses, “we currently have 5 spare buses to accommodate trip requests before our regular routes are completed in the evening. With a growing enrollment, we are adding 1 to 2 new routes a year. At this rate we will not have any spare buses in 2 years. We need to allocate $300,000 per year to replace old buses, at a cost of $100,000 per bus. The tax increase would allow us to do that.”

Joseph said, “We currently need to add two science labs so that all of our students have the opportunity to attend a science class in a lab setting. The state now requires all students to have four years of science to graduate, which has increased our need for the additional science labs. We need to renovate the Instructional Annex to have 11 classrooms available for elementary growth – Crosby is a growing district. Our enrollment as of last Friday was 5039 students. The additional classrooms would allow for the projected growth in the elementary grades for the next 4 to 5 years.”

Then there is security Joseph says, “Security and safety of our students – We need to invest money in a security system at each of our elementary campuses. This system would place cameras in all front offices and outside the building. In addition, the tax increase would allow us to modify the driveway at Barrett Primary School so that we would get all of the pickup traffic on FM 1942 off the road.”

The budget includes $220,590 in fire alarm and intercom systems, renovation of restrooms $220,884, and $175,000 in other new vehicles. Renovations are planned for the roofs of Crosby Middle School and the Administration building. Salaries increase 2.5% midpoint for all professional employees, $1235 for teachers and $43,051 first year salary.

Joseph also said, “The state of Texas will give to the district 60 cents for every dollar of local money raised in a Tax Ratification Election. In a bond election, the state would only give the district 30 cents for every dollar of local money raised.

Gerald Blankenship motioned and Tonya Eagleton Seconded, Jo Ann Crawford voted against the call for election.