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Trinity County News - Breakout

King picked for class

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tasb logo2x blueSpecial to the News-Standard

TRINITY — Trinity ISD trustee Elizabeth King has been selected by the Texas Association of School Boards as one of 27 school board members in Texas to join the 2023 Leadership TASB Class. 

The advanced education program will take place over the course of five sessions throughout the year and will focus on solutions to challenges that public education is facing. 

Upon completion, participants who meet all of the required elements will graduate as a Master Trustee which is the highest designation recognized by TASB. 

Elizabeth is a 1991 graduate of Trinity High School. She and her husband Tim have two children, Reagan and Garrett, who are TISD alumni as well. She has worked as a juvenile probation officer in Trinity County for the past 23 years and, “has unique insight when it comes to difficulties our youth and families face.” 

King said, “I often hear the good and bad things people have to say about our town and our schools. Their honesty sheds light on what really matters to people when it comes to their children and their education. What we do with that knowledge is the key to doing what is best for our students.”

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Board OKs new budget

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TRINISD D LOGOBy Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — Taxpayers will see about 6 cents decrease in property taxes based on the 2022-23 budget passed by the Trinity ISD.

Superintendent John Kaufman said the board approved budget expenditures $13,839,210, which is down $195,000 from last year due to strategic cuts made in certain areas. Revenues are projected to be $14,127,225, up $569,787 because of federal ESSER grants.

Kaufman said that there also are pay raises for all employees and increase overtime funds for custodial staff and bus drivers, and the budget still will be balanced.

The proposed tax rate for maintenance and operations is 0.9363, or 93.63 cents per $100 in property valuation. With a bond payment rate of 18.7 cents, a taxpayers total tax burden will be  $1.1180 per $100 valuation, which will be a 6 cent decrease from last year, Kaufman said.

Included in the budget are security items paid for with ESSER funds, some of which is mandated by the state, and others because the district wants to go above and beyond requirements, including adding enclosure fencing to keep children on campus and installing vape detectors.

In other business, the board:

•approved the student handbook;

•discussed state accountability rankings;

•discussed enrollment of 1,150, up 20 from last year, made up of 541 in elementary, 268 in middle school and 341 in high school; and

•approved the renewal of insurance, which went up by $40,000 (property insurance), due to high claims in the regional cooperative.

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County rescinds burn ban

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BurnBanTCNS staff

GROVETON — The burn ban in Trinity County, put in place in June due to numerous wildfires in the county, has been rescinded by County Judge Doug Page.

According to an order released Thursday, Page stated the conditions requiring the ban — weeks of little or no rainfall — no longer exist, and the order was removed.

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School district to bump tax rate

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tax rate increase graphicBy Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — Groveton ISD gave its OK to a prospective budget on Aug. 22, on that will put the property tax rate at 0.8656 percent, or 86 cents per $100 property valuation.

Superintendent Jim Dillard said that while the proposed rate is slightly above this year’s rate of 0.8156 percent, it is still less that what was in place in the past.

Previous rates were just under a dollar — at 0.9664 and 0.9041. 

Overall, the district is looking at a budget of $9,038,242 projected budget amount for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1. For the current fiscal year, expenditures are $8,634,642 to date; however, certain costs have not yet been placed on the books, so that number should end up being similar to the next budget. 

Dillard said that in regard to the new budget, the impact of the school’s hybrid schedule, as well as current economic factors, remains to be seen.

As part of the budget process, the board also approved the certified tax rolls as submitted by the Trinity and Houston counties respective appraisal districts.

In other business, the board:

•approved property and casualty insurance through TASB risk management;

•approved extending emergency paid sick leave, which has been done since the COVID outbreak. Employees will be covered for 5 days; and

•updated the board about the beginning of school, including new safety measures.

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County to explore temporary jail

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Jail Graphic

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — Policy changes at area jails have put the county jail out of compliance, and Sheriff Woody Wallace told the County Commissioners Court something must be done.

The jail, which can hold seven prisoners, is holding 15 as of last week; Wallace said that the other jails contracted to house Trinity County prisoners will no longer accept prisoners requiring medical attention.

He also said that several prisons will be raising their rates in the next fiscal year, which will further put a strain on county coffers.

The court did approve submitting a proposed drawing of a temporary jail, to be built using the old sewing mill, to the Texas Jail Commission for review. Depending on their response, the county then will look into funding options.

In a separate matter, the county will propose a .57 percent tax rate for its FY 2022-23 budget, which also will include a 6 percent raise for county employees and officials.

In other business, the county:

•approved an official bond for Jill Steptoe;

•approved a personnel action form to correct a clerical error on a pay rate;

•approved eight housecleaning budget amendments;

•approved the purchase of a chair restraint to be used by the jail;

•approved an agreement with Darren Smith to allow the county to remove soil from his property;

•approved service agreements with Windstream for 911 addressing needs for offices in Trinity and the County Museum;

•accepted a donation of $1,000 from Steely Lumber Co.;

•accepted a donation of $3,000 from Dillon Renfro for damages done to Baker Lane;

•approved the 2023 holiday schedule for the county; and

•approved the regular terms of Commissioners Court for the next fiscal year.

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