Liberty-Eylau Independent School District's Board of Trustees approved the 2018-19 budget during their regular meeting Thursday.
The property tax rate will remain the same at $1.17 for maintenance and operations and $.20 debt service. Taxes were last raised in 2016, when voters approved a total of $20.9 million in bonds for district improvements, including renovations to the Pre-K building, new turf and track at Harris Field, heating and air systems districtwide, a new roof at the middle school and a new elementary school.
The budget shows $561,699,844 in estimated property values. That exact number will be available from the Bowie County Central Appraisal District on July 25.
"Bowie County is historically conservative, so we are looking for that to go up," Susie Byrd, the district's business manager said.
The budget shows $26,358,337 in estimated revenue and $31,945,027 in estimated expenses, leaving a deficit of $5,586,690. Trustees also voted to move $5.7 million in funds saved from previous years to cover the deficit.
The budget also includes a $500 increase for teachers at the top of the pay scale and a three percent increase for employees not covered under a step pay scale.
In other business, the board also approved the purchase of a video board to be attached to the top of the current football scoreboard at Harris Field. Farmers Bank & Trust agreed to loan the district $285,282.50 to purchase the board and advertisements are being sold for the board to pay for itself.
"It will also be used in conjunction with a class that will be offered through the CTE program," Superintendent Ronnie Thompson said. "It's an opportunity for those students to practice what they've learned in the classroom in a hands-on practical experience actually using the cameras on the sideline and actually programming the advertisements and developing the advertising and running that during the ball game on site. It's going to be a very good experience for those students and give them transferable job skills."
Trustees also approved a change to the disciplinary grid to align with the student code of conduct. It adds additional prohibited items, which include BB guns, air guns, razor, box cutter, chain, "look alike weapons," ammo, pocket knife, mace/pepper spray, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and e-devices.
"This will help keep everybody on the same page," Assistant Superintendent Jeff Wright said.
During executive session, trustees approved personnel items and extended Thompson's contract by one year.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 19.