Posted Date: 02/13/2017
Article by Liz McDaniel (Courtesyy of Groesbeck Journal) Dr. Harold Ramm called together a group of 23 citizens on Tuesday, January 17 to consider the School District’s needs. This steering committee will present these needs to the community as well as the school board. People from various aspects of the Groesbeck Community were selected including parents, ranchers, professionals, and former teachers from Groesbeck and surrounding areas including Thornton, Kosse, and Lake Limestone. They spent a good part of the morning at the Groesbeck H.S. library listening to Dr. Ramm and his staff present the challenges the School Board faces for the current budget year due in part to State funding cuts. He explained in depth how since 2011 Groesbeck ISD has lost a total of $6,657,032 due to state funding cuts. GISD’s 20% Local Option Homestead Exemption (LOHE) was eliminated in 2015. The primary reason for the elimination was due to the State mandate that it would be required to be granted for the next five years. Due to State funding cuts incurred in the last six years, the District could not risk being locked into a local option exclusion. This exclusion would have cut funding by an additional $2.65 million dollars over the next five years. The total bonds since their inception as of 8/31/16 has been $39,000,000 and the balance as of 8/31/16 was $16,661,000. The anticipated balance at 8/1/17 is $14,532,057. The amount of debt paid off is $24,467,943 which shows that 63% of the debt has been paid off in 8 years. Historically, .54 cents of every Maintenance and Operations (M&O) dollar was sent to the state. Due to the financial strategies and fluctuation of property values, GISD has been able to reduce this to .25 cents of every dollar being sent to the state. In order to balance next year’s M & O the district will have to increase the M & O rate at least 4 cents regardless if a future bond passes or not. Dr. Ramm presented a plan to pass another bond to keep more tax dollars in Groesbeck ISD. The aim of this plan is to keep the tax rate as low as possible. Through the purchase of new buses, transportation operating costs have been reduced by 60%. By doing this, the school has less repairs and maintenance costs (two mechanic positions have been reduced to zero) since the buses are new and require much less servicing. Dr. Ramm discussed at great lengths about the advantages of having newer, efficiently working buses due in turn to the miles driven and safety concerns parents have. The proceeds from selling the fleet of buses keeps money locally with no proceeds from these sales going to the state. The purpose in raising these much needed funds is to take care of facility improvements and technology improvements within the district. Following a brief tour of the High School, the committed was taken by bus on a tour to the Support Services Building, (formerly Ellison Steel), Enge-Washington Intermediate, Groesbeck Middle School, and HOW Elementary School. The Committee plans on meeting again in the future before the February School Board Meeting.