Mansfield school district reduces taxes, gives employees raises

Posted Friday, Aug. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Mansfield school district managed to drop taxes, add more than 100 jobs and still give all of their employees a raise.

Trustees adopted a $236,067,409 general fund budget at Tuesday night’s meeting, managing to please both taxpayers and their staff.

Like last year, the new budget has the school district dipping into its savings. Last year, the school district came up $8 million short, while this year’s shortfall is projected to be $970,905. Thanks to $125,000 from selling some property, the district’s fund balance (savings) will only take a hit of $845,905. The district’s reserve fund balance is currently $98,674,681.

After refinancing two bonds at lower interest rates, the school district was able to drop its debt service fund from 50 cents per $100 of assessed value to 48.71 cents, saving a homeowner with a $200,000 taxable value home about $20 a year on their property tax bill. With the maintenance and operation fund of $1.04, the Mansfield school tax rate will be $1.5271 per $100 of value for 2013-2014.

Trustees also added 115.5 jobs, all teaching positions, for the new school year. Facing a reduction in state funding last year, the Mansfield school district avoided layoffs by not filling some empty positions and reworking the schedule so that teachers could handle more classes.

The new positions will ease the teachers’ schedules, allowing them to have a conference period and a planning period

All employees will receive at least a 3 percent raise in the new budget, with long-time teachers receiving a bit more, due to the step increase that rewards educators for their years of service.

First-year teachers also got a boost as Mansfield trustees agreed to boost their base starting salary to $50,000.

“Our board is committed to recruiting and retaining talented educators and staff members to work with our students,” Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas said in a statement. “It is important that we provide competitive salaries to our employees.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

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