The Jacksboro Independent School District Board of Trustees approved an agreement with Keechi Wind, LLC to consider the application for appraised value limitation on qualified property. The proposed agreement relates to the construction of a wind farm that will include ten turbines in the Perrin-Whitt School District and thirty turbines in the Jacksboro School District.
The Texas Economic Development Act was passed in 2001. Commonly referred to as a Chapter 313 Agreement, the legislation allows school districts to provide tax abatements to attract large scale business projects to the school district. Under the program, a school district may offer a business a property value limitation that reduces its property tax liability for an eight year period. Since the program was enacted, over 200 applications have been filed with school districts. Approximately 165 projects are currently active in the state.
The Board's action is the first step in a process that will be required to conclude by the end of the year. Following approval of the consideration of the project, the Board also approved an agreement with the consulting firm of Moak,Casey and Associates to conduct an economic impact study, submitted to the State Comptroller.
The fees will be paid by Keechi Wind LLC. The Comptroller will have three months to review the project and determine if it will be accepted or rejected.
Following the recommendation from the Comptroller, the Board of Trustees must meet to approve or reject the agreement and if the agreement is approved, develop a plan to administer the value limitation.
If the project and value limitation agreement receives final approval from the Board, the project is fully taxable for a two year qualifying period. Following the qualifying period, an eight year value limitation period begins.
School district taxes are divided into two categories. The Maintenance and Operations tax is used to generate funds for the basic operations of the school district.
The Interest and Sinking fund is used to pay debt for construction and capital improvement projects.
During this time, the project will be listed on the JISD M&O tax rolls for $10 million. However, the plant would be fully taxable for I&S purposes.
This agreement would provide a projected tax savings of $7.4 million. However, the school will not lose any funds, because under the provisions of the recapture program, the state would redistribute the tax revenue to other districts in the state, therefore the net result is an increase in revenue for the school.
The community benefits from the fact that a new business is attracted to the area that will generate jobs and increased revenue for the city and county.
Superintendent Dennis Bennett led the Board in a review of the school district's Bullying Policy. Bennett pointed out that the Board has a policy that prohibits bullying. The Board policy is then used to develop administrative policies that address the issue of bullying in student handbooks, a violence policy and a bullying policy. Much of the school's policies pertaining to bullying are derived from the Texas School Safety Center which uses a flow chart to help administrators determine if bullying has occurred. In order to rise to the level of bullying a situation must: occur on school property, must exploit an imbalance of power, and must interfere with a student's education.
The school principals reported a total of 33 reports of bullying during the school year. Upon investigation, eight of these reports proved to be actual bullying.
Katie Hammon addressed the Board, thanking them for addressing the issue and proposing the school consider placing a School Resource Officer at each campus, the implementation of a school ambassador program and the creation of a local chapter of the Banish Bullying program.
Board President Gary Zeitler concluded the discussion by commenting, "I believe the school has programs in place to address the issue of bullying. It is just important for students to report any concerns they have."
Child Nutrition Director Craig Adkins provided an update on the Child Nutrition Program, reporting that 55 percent of the students in Jacksboro qualify for free or reduced lunches.
The nutrition program ended the school year with a positive balance, but by the end of the fiscal year, the balance will be negative because of the purchase of a point of sale computer program.
The decision to move from serving the elementary students breakfast in their classroom to the cafeteria resulted in less participation in the breakfast program, but Adkins reported that he and Angie Myrick, elementary principal, were addressing the issue.
Following executive session to discuss personnel, the Board accepted the resignation of Middle School Math teacher, Ann Hearne.
Starla Sanders was hired as the Middle School Assistant Principal. Brenda Doyle was hired to serve as the high school credit recovery teacher and head volleyball coach. She has been an assistant volleyball coach at Windthorst.
Karen Lalk was employed as a high school math teacher and assistant girls' coach. Tiffany Medders was employed as the high school Family and Consumer Science teacher. Will Johnson was employed as a high school math teacher and David Humpel was employed as a high school English teacher.
Brittany Robinson and Candace Thompson were employed as first grade teachers and Iris Burkett was employed as a fifth grade Reading/Language Arts teacher. Kari Harris will take over the duties of elementary life skills teacher.
Lenda Davidson will teach seventh grade math and Ray Velasquez will be the Middle School Band Director. Jodi Hilbers was employed as the school nurse for next year.