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BCISD proposes property tax rate cut; OKs Bertram addition, bus driver pay raise

Bertram Elementary School addition approved

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees approved the design for a Bertram Elementary School addition that will expand capacity from 450 students to 750. The project is part of the $52 million bond that BCISD voters approved earlier this year. Image courtesy of BCISD

Burnet Consolidated Independent School District officials stated earlier this year that, even with the passage of a $52 million bond package, the district would propose a cut to the property tax rate for the coming year.

During the meeting Monday, July 26, the board of trustees and district administration kept in step with that decree by approving a proposed 2021-22 ad valorem tax rate of $1.077 per $100 valuation.

“This represents a 6.9-cent decrease in the tax rate,” BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett stated in an email. 

The board will hold a budget hearing during its Aug. 30 meeting and also vote on both the budget and the tax rate.

If the board adopts the proposed rate, or one below the current rate of $1.146, it will mark the sixth year in a row that the district has cut the overall tax rate. However, a property owner’s final property tax bill also depends on the property’s assessed value. While the board did approve a lower proposed tax rate, officials informed the members that BCISD has experienced “significant increases to property values.”

McBurnett said property value increases mean the state of Texas will recalculate the district’s recapture amount. This refers to the local tax revenues BCISD is required to send to the state for distribution to other districts facing economic challenges due to property values. 

“Although the change will ultimately result in a neutral effect on the district budget, voters must approve to pay the required recapture amount or the state will annex an equivalent value of BCISD property,” McBurnett stated in the email. 

The administration will share more information on the process in the coming weeks. 

BERTRAM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The board also approved the design for a Bertram Elementary School addition.

In May, BCISD voters approved a $52 million bond that included funds for the Bertram campus expansion. Earlier this year, McBurnett noted the amount of growth moving down the Texas 29 corridor and from western Williamson County toward BCISD. One of the first campuses to feel the effects will likely be Bertram Elementary School.

The campus would likely surpass its capacity within the next several years without expansion.

The plan includes an additional building with 12 classrooms and corridors connecting it to the current facility. Other renovations and more parking spaces are also planned on campus.

With expansion, Bertram Elementary’s capacity will grow from its current 450 students to 750.

STAFFING

The board approved raising the starting pay of district bus drivers from $15.57 per hour to $18 per hour in an effort to attract more applicants. Interested drivers can contact the transportation department at 512-756-2119.

The trustees also raised the bilingual stipend from $4,500 annually to $6,000.

BCISD’s next regular board meeting is Monday, Aug. 30. The first day of school is Wednesday, Aug. 18.

daniel@thepicayune.com