School board approves new budget for upcoming fiscal year

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With the new school year also bringing a new elementary school, the Sealy Independent School District board agreed during a meeting last week on a new tax rate for the upcoming year.

Since the Houston area is within a year of a federal disaster, the Texas Tax Code allows school boards to adjust budgets without an election.

Even still, the overall tax rate will remain the same as the only alterations are within the maintenance and operations and interest and sinking budgets.

Jim Obermeier, Sealy ISD’s chief financial officer, presented the new tax rate and budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year and explained article 26.08 of the Tax Code allows these alterations in the wake of a disaster to bypass the election process.

With that, the proposed variations include the M&O rate increasing from $1.04 to $1.11. This is the first time it has been inflated since 2010. On the other hand, the I&S budget fell from 35 cents to only 28 cents, keeping the overall rate at $1.39.

After this year the rates will roll back to the previous rate although the overall amount will not look different. The board approved the budget with a 6-0 vote.

There is a net excess in the M&O budget specifically for the new school although Superintendent Sheryl Moore isn’t quite sure what it will be needed for just yet.

“Any time you build a new school there are going to be unexpected things come up,” she said. “We’re prepared for that and will have that to rely on.”

Project Manager Mike Zapalac also submitted a report to the board, detailing the two big projects that for which he presented certificates of completion.

Sealy Elementary on 723 FM 2187 and Maggie B Selman Elementary at 939 Tiger Drive will both be ready for students on Aug. 27 despite some minor touch-ups continuing for the next few months.

The main reason is a back order on some hardware that the contractors were not able to complete before school starting. However, Zapalac emphasized that the students will be perfectly fine.

“Some very minor things still need to be done but none of it will hinder education,” he told the board. “Contractors will be coming in and out mainly on the weekends until around Thanksgiving and our final billings will be completed in October.”

Zapalac also mentioned that despite receiving an extra 8,000 square feet of educational space to work with, the team still remained under budget to complete the project right on schedule.

Moore joked that although the contractors may be leaving out the back door while the students are coming in the front door, school will start district-wide on Aug. 27.

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