ARLINGTON -- School trustees got some good news about property values Monday night, minutes before voting to approve an ambitious three-year strategic plan they've worked on for months with administrators, teachers, students and citizen groups.
The Arlington district's certified property values are $19.8 billion, about 2 percent higher than last year, said Cindy Powell, associate superintendent for finance.
"It's our biggest increase since 2008," Powell said. "These higher property values will generate an additional $2 million for the general fund."
The total tax rate was set at $1.30, about a half-cent lower than the estimated tax rate that trustees used to adopt their 2012-13 budget earlier in the summer before the Tarrant Appraisal District certified property values.
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Trustees see the strategic plan as a precursor to a more comprehensive five-year plan, the first steps to transforming the district into a premier system.
"This is looking down the road for a vision for our district," Trustee Bowie Hogg said in making the motion to approve the plan.
It passed by a 5-0 vote. Trustees John Hibbs and Tony Pompa were absent.
Trustees have said the first year of the plan will cost the most, about $4.2 million. Trustees couldn't estimate years two and three.
Monday's vote was an approval to adopt the plan as the road map for the the district's next three years. Components of the plan will be approved and funded project by project.
The plan, called "Achieve Today, Excel Tomorrow," emphasizes digital innovation, marketing the district's strong points and unique programs, and encouraging business and community involvement.
Some key points include giving campus leaders more autonomy, a 10-year facilities master plan, instruction that promotes critical thinking, and strategies to engage parents and promote community involvement.
Arlington residents and business leaders will be hearing much more about the plan this month. A series of luncheons are scheduled next week for key stakeholders, followed by the annual State of the District address to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 13 and a staff kickoff celebration Aug. 21 at the University of Texas at Arlington's College Park Center.
"For the first time in the history of the event, the State of the District luncheon is sold out, by people waiting to hear about the strategic plan," chamber director Wes Jurey said.