Garner ISD trustees Tuesday passed a budget that includes 4% salary increases for teachers and staff and an increase to supply budgets to support the student population growth at the district. The tax rate adopted was lowered to just below $0.12, making the newly adopted tax rate $0.936096 per $100 of valuation. The tax on a $100,000 appraised property with no exemptions would now be $936, compared to last year’s amount of $1,053.
“Through strategic planning, the district has been able to make several needed improvements without additional taxpayer effort,” Superintendent Rebecca Hallmark said. “The district amended the 2020-2021 budget to include necessary infrastructure projects out of the fund balance.”
A large project for the district was the creation of an inner campus drive and expanded parking through a memorandum of understanding with Parker County Precinct 2. District funds were used to pay for labor and materials at a substantial savings to the district, Hallmark said.
The safety of moving traffic and parents parking for events off of Highway 113 and county roads surrounding the school was the primary purpose of the paving project. Money was also expended from fund balance to purchase a school bus and a smaller gasoline activity bus for transporting smaller groups of students to events such as golf, tennis, One-Act-Play and FFA competitions.
After purchasing three new buses through a grant program with the North Central Texas Council of Governments in 2019, Garner was able to update the aged bus fleet by replacing the three buses that were over 15 years of age.
With the growth and expanded needs, the three buses are used daily on routes, so an additional bus was needed for emergencies, transporting classes on field trips and transporting groups to evening activities, Hallmark said.
The outdoor pavilion area was also enclosed using funds from fund balance to temporarily house newly-donated weight room equipment and to provide an indoor activity area due to limited space in the current facilities. Garner purchased a six-classroom portable building in the spring of 2020 to move the secondary students out of the main building due to overcrowding and the need for more classrooms. The district is exploring the need for an additional classroom portable building as early as November or December. The space available for the portable facilities, inner campus drive, and expanded parking was possible thanks to a land donation from Mac Coalson and Phillip Hobson.
Trustees also approved funds to be used for sewage and water improvements. The current septic spray area was relocated and parking was expanded from 35 spots to more than 100.
“Much like the other districts in Parker County and east Palo Pinto County, Garner must continue to address the growth in our community,” Hallmark said. “Providing a high quality education and small school environment for the students of Garner ISD will continue to be a top priority. Garner ISD is proud to be a small school preparing students for a big future.”