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CISD sets date for tax ratification election

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By Scott Harvey

Commerce – An August tax rollback election has been scheduled by the Commerce ISD, in hopes of winning approval of a 13 cents tax rate hike from residents.

During Monday's meeting, Director of Finance John Walker informed the school board of a projected budget shortfall of nearly $700,000. The funding gap comes despite efforts district-wide to cut expenditures, as all campuses were asked to cut three percent of their budgets, totaling nearly $400,000 in savings.

The election is set for August 14 at the Commerce Middle School Library, 606 Culver Street.

If approved, the district's M&O (Maintenance and Operations) tax rate would increase to $1.17 per $100 valuation. That rate, combined that with the districts current I&S (Interest and Sinking) rate of $.4251, would make for a $1.59 total tax rate.

The rate would provide an additional $900,000 in revenue for CISD, which would more than balance the 2010-2011 budget and possibly allow for teacher pay raises.

The current budget passed Monday night ($11,575,508), only includes step raises as mandated by the state. The extra funds could also aid in construction projects throughout the district, according to Walker.

CISD is expected to conduct at least a couple of town hall meetings on the upcoming election in the coming weeks.

Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted each weekday beginning July 28 and running through August 10 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the CISD Administration Office, 604 Culver Street.

Additional early voting will be held August 4 and 5 from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Middle School Library.