CISD cuts taxes; schedules grand opening of Hopkins Event Center
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
While Houston County and the City of Crockett are raising taxes for fiscal year 2014, Crockett ISD Superintendent Dr. Douglas Moore is not shy about how proud he is that the Crockett ISD is lowering its tax rate. Moore said the district has cut taxes three of the five years he has been superintendent. During its Monday, Aug. 26 meeting, the CISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to adopt a tax rate of $1.25/per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2014 ($1.04/$100 valuation for Maintenance and Operations and $0.21/$100 valuation for the Interest and Sinking Fund). This is a decrease of $0.01707/$100 valuation. Last year's total tax rate was $1.26707/$100 valuation ($1.04/$100 valuation for Maintenance and Operations and $0.22707/$100 valuation for the Interest and Sinking Fund). Moore showed the board members a comparison of where the district stood when he came in as superintendent and where it stands today. Moore said one of the reasons the district can afford to cut the tax rate this year is because electrical bills have decreased. The district changed vendors for electricity that resulted in a savings and used a grant to replace old air conditioners with more energy efficient units. Also, the district has changed copier vendors, resulting in a savings. The district additionally cut back on contracted services. Personnel lay-offs saved the district a significant sum as well. "We weren't doing a happy dance through that time," Moore said. He said, "The sad part about it was, we know there were some good people, good hard-working people, that lost their job, and that's the saddest thing I've ever been through in my whole career," Moore said. "I pray to God the district doesn't have to do that ever again. The district didn't deserve what happened what happened to the district," Moore said. In other business, Moore announced the grand opening of the Andrew J. Hopkins Event Center is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Donations continue to come in for completion of the center's interior. Monday night, on behalf of the Crockett Little Dribblers Association, Dr. Ianthia Fisher presented the district with a $5,000 donation. At the Aug. 19 meeting, Leon Hunt presented the district with a $10,000 donation. Future donations from other sources are anticipated. At Monday's meeting, the board also heard reports on the district's accountability ratings from the state. Assistant Superintendent Jeannie Julian reported that CISD earned a "Met Standard" rating of accountability. Crockett High School and Crockett Junior High School also earned a "Met Standard" rating. The high school and Piney Woods Alternative Education Center also had 100% graduation rates. Piney Woods AEC and Crockett Elementary School/Crockett Early Childhood Center received a rating of "Improvement Required". Julian explained the accountability rating includes four indices: Student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. CHS, CJHS and CES met the standard for student achievement (scores on the STAAR test). CES Principal Johnita Martin said fourth grade math and writing scores were a problem, and CES did not meet the standard for closing performance gaps. The index for closing performance gaps includes a comparative analysis of scores for students who are economically disadvantaged, African American or English Language Learners. Martin said she and her staff have high expectations this year. One goal at the elementary campus is that all students will speak in complete sentences and speak with complete grammar 90% of the time. Another goal is that 100% of the CES students will feel good about themselves and teachers will build relationships with the students. In concluding her presentation regarding changes to be made this year, Martin said, "The future starts in Crockett ISD at Crockett Elementary School."