School year off to good start in Crockett
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
Principals of the various Crockett I.S.D. campuses gave glowing reports to the school board Aug. 30 about the first week of school. “We did have a good time last week,” said Superintendent Douglas Moore. Prior to the formal meeting of the school board, each principal introduced new members of the teaching staffs. Enrollment at the Early Childhood Center is up to 269, enough to create an additional class and hire an additional teacher. The report from Crockett Elementary School Principal Ann Fiolek was that Study Island was up and running, Scientific Minds-Science Starters was up and running for third through fifth grade, all new teachers are being mentored and the custodians did a great job. Even the volunteers were on their toes, according to the report to the school board. A volunteer got all the elementary gardens ready to be planted and the hummingbirds are loving the flowers in the butterfly gardens. Enrollment at the elementary school is 514. A drawing by a first grader with a note saying “This is the best school ever,” was also shown the school board. Also during the meeting, President Lela Wheeler said she has an issue with the school supply lists. “It's crazy,” she said about the costs of school supplies, noting that some lists included a ream of copy paper. Wheeler said her church tried to help provide school supplies to some children, and it was difficult because in some cases the cost was $90 per child. Moore referenced a school district that was in the news for asking students to bring toilet paper as a school supply. “When we have to ask kids to bring toilet paper, we need to quit,” Moore said. Moore also said the school administrators have discussed monitoring who is using copypaper and how much. “We're trying to be as economical as we can,” Moore said. However, “If principals need something to conduct business at that school, all they have to do is call Mrs. (Gail) Hanson and we'll sit down and try to figure out a way to get it.” In other business, the school board discussed the budget and tax rate. Board member Trey Young said, “We've made cuts every where we possibly can.” He said he hates raising taxes, but it is necessary. The state set the rate for the maintenance and operations (M&O) part of the school tax rate at $1.04, explained Moore. The district lost $296,000 in taxable value last year, he explained. The Interest and Sinking Fund tax revenue is used to pay for bonded debtedness on construction, equipment or both. The bonds, and the tax rate necessary to pay those bonds, were approved by the voters of the Crockett ISD. The total tax rate for 2010-2011 will be $1.26988. The M&O rate will be $1.04, the same as it has been since 2007-08. The I&S rate will be $.22988. The I&S rate in 2009-2010 was $.18496. Moore explained in a Courier interview after the meeting that the tax rate is actually lower than it was in 2005-2006 and 2006-07. He said that in 2005-06, the M&O rate was $1.47, the I&S rate was $.18 and the total rate was $1.65. In 2006-2007, the M&O rate was $1.34, the I&S rate was $.17 and the total was $1.51344.