Brownwood school board members took a step Monday toward keeping the tax rate for the 2008-’09 fiscal year the same as the current rate - $1.04 per $100 valuation for maintenance and operations, and $.2307 per $100 for debt service.

Those are the figures trustees agreed to publish in a public notice this month. The board set Aug. 27 as the date to adopt the tax rate and the budget for the new year. Those figures can be lower, but not higher.

The school administration prepared a budget that would hold the line on the maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate, and had sought to keep the debt service portion approximately the same.

Trustees acted quickly on Superintendent Reece Blincoe’s recommendation to publish the tax rate.

In other business, board members approved Blincoe's recommendation to appoint a standing public relations committee to help spread the word about the district’s accomplishments such as its recent achievement as a recognized district in the Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings.

Members of the committee are Blincoe; school board members Eric Evans and Nesa Morelock; Laura Terhune of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce; parents Jamie Munson and Diane Roberts; and Karen Dempsey, executive assistant to the superintendent.

Blincoe said he envisions the committee will meet monthly and give quarterly updates to the board. He said it is important to overcome misperceptions some people have about the school district.

Also Monday, trustees agreed to award a bid for fuel purchases for the new year to Brown County Marketing of Bangs, one of two companies that submitted bids. The “benchmark,” or fixed rate, for fuel purchases from Brown County Marketing is $.1288 a gallon for regular and $.1188 for diesel, trustees were told. The fixed rate is added to a variable rate that changes daily.