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School board expected to set referendum at Monday meeting

The Austin Public School Board will decide Monday whether to approve a special election in November to renew one of the district’s two operating levees, scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014.

If approved, the only question appearing on the Nov. 5 ballot will read: “Shall the renewal of the expiring property tax referendum proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 492 (Austin) be approved?” Voters will check “yes” or “no.”

Mark Stotts, finance and operations director, said Austin residents can expect to see a slight drop in their property taxes if the referendum is renewed.

Numerous changes were made during the state’s most recent legislative session, including modifications to the way students of different grade levels are “weighted” when counting the number of students in a district.

State funding is based on resident pupil units. Whereas that number previously included students attending Pacelli, being home schooled or open-enrolling to attend a different district, it no longer will. Stotts said that makes a difference of about 116 students.

“At the current time, we still get operating levy dollars for those kids because they live here,” he said. “That’s changing.”

Other business

During the meeting, the school board will also:

—Discuss the strategic direction of Austin Public Schools in developing the community’s understanding of the district and the need for partnership.

—Hear departmental updates from educational services, the Community Learning Center and special services, along with an update on preparation progress at I.J. Holton Intermediate School.

—Decide whether to accept a total of $435 in donations from Integrity Real Estate, Fuhrman Real Estate and seven individual donors to go toward school supplies at Sumner Elementary.

—Decide whether to approve the extended field trips planned for the 2013-2014 school year. These include regional sports competitions, overnight trips and out-of-state events.