Commentary: CCAISD Tax Rates for 2020-2021

By Ken Baugh,
Superintendent of Schools
Culberson County-Allamoore Independent School District

School is almost ready for us to start. One area that we address each year is budgeting. Budgeting involves taxes. We have some good news this year concerning taxes. We are proposing an almost 10% tax cut in the Maintenance and Operation (M&O) tax rate. Our proposed tax rate will be $0.87470 per $100 value this year as compared to $0.97000 per $100 value last year. Last year we cut the M&O tax rate almost 7%. Three years ago we cut the M&O tax rate by 11% in four years. With this proposed M&O tax rate, we will have cut the M&O tax rate by 25% in four years. We did this by efficient operations and use of Texas HB3 new tax rate compression formula. The state has promised to make up for the loss of taxes we incur when we decrease the M&O tax rates. They did honor that promise last school year and are set to do so again this coming school year. As always, we will watch what happens in the new session that is coming this year. The Interest & Sinking (I&S) is proposed to stay the same for 2020-2021. We cut the I&S fund by over 12% last year.

But, let’s not forget the contribution you made to help lower tax rates. You passed a school bond in May of 2019 that allowed us to pay off almost all of our debt that was being taken out of the M&O funds to run our school. We saw a great benefit because of that this year and for the next several years to come. During the last three years, we have added to the fund balance to prepare for unseen problems such as Covid-19. Or, to take advantage of opportunities that may arise, like free associate degrees while in high school. Another great thing your foresight as a community has allowed, is the ability to provide a 9% across the board pay increase over the last two years for all of our staff. As a result of everyone’s careful planning, your school is in the healthiest financial condition it has ever been in its entire history.

We are facing this coming school year with confidence and ready to take on all the extra costs brought on by Covid-19. We are also embracing our new Van Horn Technical Early College High School (VHTECH) starting in 2020-2021 and the ability to provide an associate’s degree while getting a high school diploma from CCAISD without having to pay for it while we build our funds in the Van Horn Education Foundation. This foundation is independent from the school and is seeking to raise enough funds through various donations and grants to have a permanent funding source to pay for our students to get their college associate’s degree free of charge.