Brownwood school trustees have scheduled an Aug. 29 meeting to adopt a tax rate and budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year beginning Sept. 1.

The board voted Monday night to approve tax rate proposals of $1.04 per $100 valuation for maintenance and operations and $.2307 for the interest and sinking fund. The school district will use those figures in public notices concerning its plans for the upcoming school year. The rates ultimately adopted can be lower but not higher than the rate used in the public notice.

That total tax rate, if adopted, would fall from the current total of $1.597 to a proposed $1.2707, a drop in overall rates of $.3263, according to a summary of the proposal prepared by the administration. The reduction reflects statewide school property tax rate reforms mandated for operations budgets by the Texas Legislature. The debt portion of the rate is determined by local voters.

“This interest and sinking rate brings the tax rate down to the area promised when the bond issue was proposed,” Dr. Sue Jones, superintendent, said after Monday’s meeting. The rate will be about 2 cents less than had been anticipated after the EDA (Existing Debt Allotment) becomes effective in 2007-2008.

The EDA represents state funds granted to school districts for debt incurred to build facilities, and the full $29.4 million Brownwood ISD voters approved in February 2005 is eligible for funding with the upcoming year. The district projects receiving $519,649 in EDA funds in the next year, compared to $375,433 this year.

The 2007-2008 proposed budget totals $25,014,012, compared to the current year’s $23,745,581, but requires some $3.5 million less in local revenue. The proposed budget for the coming year calls for $10,504,863 in local revenue (41.9 percent of the budget) and $14,415,149 in state revenue (57.6 percent).

The current 2006-2007 budget required $12,746,456 in local revenue (53.67 percent of the total) and $10,905,125 in state revenue (45.92 percent).

The proposed maintenance and operations tax rate is down from the current $1.3345, and from the interest and sinking rate of $.2625.

Jones presented a revised budget package compiled after a lengthy Aug. 6 board workshop, and highlighted a few items that had changed in the past week that affect the budget.

“The property insurance amounts came in significantly less than anticipated,” Jones told the board, recommending that the difference be placed in the health insurance fund so the district can further offset employee health insurance premiums.

“With decreasing the amount employees pay for health insurance, it is possible that additional employees will want to participate.” Approximately 400 employees out of 518 currently are enrolled in the program.

The budget also calls for the district to cover the 90-day waiting period at $75 a month previously paid by employees new to the district or to the health program before the state assumes that amount.

“I personally think that’s a great idea,” trustee Dr. Justin Murphy said. “It would give us somewhat of a more competitive advantage in the application process.”

Murphy also thanked Jones for the way she packaged the budget, showing “that we provide a good, cost-effective education.”

The budget adds $10,000 to use for counseling services to help students found to have substance abuse problems.

The board also plans to make year-ending amendments to the 2006-2007 budget when it meets Aug. 29.