Monday, May 21, 2007

We seem to operate as though we are a rich district, and we are not." Colleen McHugh sure got rich

Tuesday, August 29, 2000
CCISD raises property tax rate by 7 cents
Owner of $75,000 home to pay $42 more per year

By Chris Neely

After approving general fund expenditures of more than $213 million Monday, CCISD trustees raised the district's property tax rate 7 cents to $1.57 per $100 valuation.
Under the new rate, the owner of a $75,000 home with the standard $15,000 exemption would pay the Corpus Christi Independent School District $942 per year, $42 more per year than with the $1.50 rate.
The vote comes a year after the board voted to cut the rate by 5 cents.
Included in the budget is $330,000 for a parity raise for auxiliary staff in the CCISD.
The board deadlocked the last time that raise came up for a vote, so trustees agreed to reconsider it Monday.
The district also approved expenditures of $11,621,700 for food service and $16,065,380 to repay debts in building projects for which the district issued bonds. In all, the district's expenses total $244,223,677.
The new tax rate and budget leaves the district with a deficit of $713,568.
Voting for the budget and the tax rate were Trustees Dot Adkins, Manuel Flores, Lucy Rubio, Rene Vela and Harry Williams; voting against them both was Trustee Vicki Rothschild and Board President Pinky Brauer.
District staff urged trustees to consider raising the tax rate to $1.58, the maximum increase allowed without approval by voters. The budget that would have been funded by that tax rate fell on a 3-4 vote, with only Flores, Vela and Williams voting for it.
"I cannot in good conscience vote for a tax increase of this magnitude," Brauer said.
Brauer urged more bullet-biting and belt-tightening for the district.
Williams said the $1.58 would carry the district away from crisis management when budget time rolls around next year.
"Let's get ahead of next year," Williams said. "Let's be proactive. We say we want the best, but we're not willing to pay for the best."
Flores said the district staff deserves the board's full support.
"Times are tough, but they were a lot tougher last year, and the district was kept together by a valiant group of employees," Flores said.
State funds
Passing the $1.58 would have given the district another $329,200 in state funds each year from 2001 to 2003.
By passing the $1.57 rate, the district forfeits that money. Vela said not taking advantage of that money in light of the $713,568 budget deficit was irresponsible.
Rothschild said she wanted to see the district cut more than it had.
"Being proactive isn't only raising the tax rate," Rothschild said.
Rubio also urged further cuts before trustees voted to defeat the $1.58 tax rate proposal.
"I ran stressing accountability," Rubio said. "We have not been as accountable as we could be. We seem to operate as though we are a rich district, and we are not."
'My pie is about gone'
Many audience members who spoke before the vote urged trustees to raise the tax rate to the maximum so that they would not leave any money on the table in Austin.
But resident Joe Cole, noting that most of those speaking in favor of the tax hike were teachers or consultants, urged restraint.
"That money on the table is my money," Cole told trustees. "Everybody wants a piece of the pie. Well, my pie is about gone."
Band uniforms for Ray HS
One item added to the budget at the last minute was $72,000 for new band uniforms for Ray High School. Dozens of parents, teachers and band members turned out for the meeting to tell trustees about the ragged condition of their uniforms.
"You have given other bands new uniforms," said Jaime Martinez, a Ray drum major. "Now it is our turn."

Staff writer Chris Neely can be reached at 886-3794 or by e-mail at

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