By Chris Edwards
WARREN – Warren ISD administrators gave a series of reports which spoke to a variety of goals set forth by the school board, for the district’s respective campuses. One piece of information that was presented, a property value study for taxpayers in the district, raised concerns and questions.
The report, delivered by David Luther, the county’s chief appraiser, stated that values of properties in the district amounted to a discrepancy, which resulted in the property values in the district falling into the state’s assigned values from the comptroller’s office.
Warren ISD is the only school district in the Region 5 area of service to receive such a designation.
“If we are not able to change [the state-assigned values] rather than what our local property values are, then we lose the money,” said the district’s chief financial officer Terry Ling.
Ling said that if the district is unsuccessful in getting the appraisals back to the local values, a reappraisal would be necessary.
Luther said if an appeal is unsuccessful, the district will “have to make some big decisions.” Luther said the amount of the discrepancy to get the values where they need to be is about $13 million.
Luther said a law firm, Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins and Mott, LLP, has been brought in to help work out an appeal. The firm also specializes in collecting delinquent property tax revenue.
Luther said the tax rate rose from 2018 to 2019, with last year being a reappraisal year. In 2018, the rate was $0.7886 per $100 of assessed value, while the ratio last year to $0.9233.
For the individual campus reports, given by Warren ISD principals, all four administrators shared the goal of getting attendance numbers up, as well as improving upon academic performance. As for the former goal, several of the principals attributed recent attendance drops to the cold and flu season.
Both Robyn Glosson and Katy Hicks, the principals of Warren Elementary and Fred Elementary, respectively, said they had implemented a variety of incentives to keep their students’ attendance levels up, such as pizza parties and other activities.
Warren High School principal Jimbo Swinney said that on his campus, he and faculty members are engaging in “more intense, in-depth tracking of our students.” Swinney added that he is working on getting the percentage of college/career/military ready students up.
He said he is measuring all high school students’ metrics toward the readiness goal, but counting the seniors, which are currently at 64%. He said the goal for WHS in college/career/military readiness is 75% minimum.
To that end, Swinney reported that a myriad of opportunities have been implemented, or are coming, to WHS. Career training workshops and classes, which range from pesticide application training to culinary arts either are, or will be available.
In its “Tribe Tribute,” or employee of the month, recognition, the WISD Board of Trustees recognized long-time district employee Sherry Mitchell, and Superintendent Dr. Tammy Boyette congratulated Mitchell for more than 50 years of service.