Groesbeck ISD School Board met On June 5th to Discuss Loss of ASATR Funds
The Groesbeck ISD School Board met on Monday, June 5, 2017. Members present were Tom Sutton, Bill David Sadler, Mika Morgan, Bridgett Jackson, Bob Waller, Randy Hunter and Ronnie Ferguson.
The School Board met in the Groesbeck High School Auditorium to accommodate the large crowd of concerned teachers and citizens. The reason for this concern is the loss of Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR). What does this mean to the district? GISD will lose $2.6 million in additional state funding.
This loss in funding will affect almost 300 districts across the state of Texas. Those districts affected are predominantly small, rural and mineral rich, meaning their property values fluctuate with the prices of oil and gas, and in Groesbeck’s case the coal mine.
Dr. Ramm thanked all who were in attendance and explained ASATR.
When the Legislature reduced property tax rates by one-third in 2006, they guaranteed that school districts would have the ability to maintain at least the same level of per-student funding for weighted average daily attendance (WADA) as they received for the 2005-2006 school year by creating Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR).
In 2011, the State significantly reduced funding for public education and some of those cuts came through a percentage reduction to ASATR. The program will expire at the end of August 2017.
Groesbeck is one of those districts receiving ASATR, leaving Groesbeck with an important decision to make – where to come up with those funds to make up the difference and what parts of the budget need to be cut. GISD employees’ salaries might be cut due to this reduction in funds.
A short video explaining ASATR was shown to the audience, which can be viewed on the school website. Bryan Moore, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance for GISD, showed slides breaking down the past year’s budget and fielded questions about how the budget works. He explained that many parts of the budget can’t be changed because they are bound by strict federal and state guidelines. Employees’ salaries comprise 82% of the school budget.
A question and answer session preceded the actual meeting of the board. Moore answered many questions from the audience. Moore introduced Gary Barker, the School Finance Agent from ESC Region 12. He also was willing to answer any questions.
Several in the audience questioned how GISD came to be in this situation. Members of the audience were very outspoken at times.
Kelly Samford, a second grade teacher in GISD stated, “We all have families and as a parent I plan for unforeseen circumstances and crisis to protect my children as best I can. After being in GISD for twenty years, I feel as if we are family and it hurts my heart to know they didn’t plan ahead to protect us as I believe a family should!”
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