The Magnolia ISD board of trustees met Nov. 13. The following took place at the meeting.
1. Property reappraisals authorized
MISD authorized the reappraisal of properties within the district damaged by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the area in late August. This provides some relief to taxpayers, as the tax bills are adjusted based on the lower appraised value, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said. The reappraisal falls in line with that of Montgomery County and other nearby school districts, such as Conroe ISD. Morris said he estimates the cost of reappraising flooded properties—including processing fees and the dip in tax revenue—will total less than $60,000.
2. MISD opts out of seat belt requirement
The MISD board of trustees approved a resolution Monday to opt out of a mandate to install seat belts on buses of model year 2018 or newer. The requirement comes from Senate Bill 693, which took effect Sept. 1, and it requires buses to be equipped with three-point seat belts for all passengers, according to meeting information. However, as the state did not provide school districts with money to add seat belts to existing or new buses—an estimated $10,000 per bus—districts are able to opt out of the requirement due to financial constraints, Morris said. MISD’s budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year does not include funds for seat belts for its three new buses, the only buses which would be equipped with passenger seat belts in the district. Morris said he estimates retrofitting the district’s existing buses with seat belts would cost about $1.3 million.
Although the board voted to forego seat belts on the new buses this year, trustees said the district will consider retrofitting its buses as an item funded by a future bond or included in a later fiscal year. Additionally, district officials said MISD continues prioritizing the safety of its students.
3. Bond projects progressing
Executive Director of Facilities Tim Bruner said construction on the District Conference Center is expected to finish by April 1. The conference center is funded as part of the MISD 2015 bond.
Magnolia and Bear Branch intermediate schools—also funded by the bond—are nearly completed, Bruner said. The facilities will be ready for move-in by spring and summer, respectively.