We are headed into our second six weeks at Medina ISD, and school has been going wonderfully.
Although Bandera County is exempt from Executive Order GA-29, our school board has chosen to err on the side of caution and continue with all of our current safety precautions.
In addition to wearing masks throughout the day, our students and staff have their temperature taken upon entering school and practice continuous hand sanitization. Sneeze guards and other social distancing measures are also in place.
Most importantly, the district still has no cases of COVID-19. (Editor’s note: This column was written the day before the Medina Independent School District said a COVID-19 case had been detected at the MISD administrative building , and officials closed down Medina schools until Monday, Oct. 26)
We have had a lot of questions regarding the board of trustees’ decision to hold a Tax Ratification Election (TRE).
I want to address this by strictly stating the facts and not my opinions.
First of all, I am proud to say the board of trustees at Medina ISD is one of the most conservative groups I have worked with, and I believe they would tell you the same about their superintendent.
Medina ISD has been held at the same $1.04 tax rate for more years than I can research back and find.
That all changed last year when House Bill 3 (HB3) and the Texas Education Agency effectively moved the tax rate back, which was actually surprising it was allowed since tax rate changes usually require voter approval.
HB3 gave our teachers over $270,000 in raises, but a 13-cent mandated cut in the (property) tax rate meant there was no real ability to compensate for those raises.
Teacher raises have been long overdue, but it still requires funding to make those increases happen.
Schools who were already at a higher adopted tax rate were not affected as much as those who had chosen to be fiscally conservative and hold their tax rates consistent for their taxpayers over the years.
Soon after the state realized what they had done to conservative districts, they allowed TREs in order for districts to recoup some of the lost funding on the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) section of school funding.
The proposed TRE for Medina ISD is only to help us get back funding for our M&O side that was lost in mandates from HB3.
News of teacher raises and lowered tax rates made headlines, but very little coverage was given to the fact that HB3 devastated funding for many smaller and more conservative districts, many of which have been fighting diligently to hold their heads above water during this time.
We are very proud of the many things a small district has to offer students and are unwaveringly willing to fight to save this opportunity for our students.
Not everyone wants to send their kids to a 6A school, taking great pride in being part of a small rural district such as Medina ISD.
Lastly, it is also a fact the governing elected board at this district never makes these decisions unless it is vital for student learning and the betterment of the district.
Kevin W. Neswom is the Medina Independent School District superintendent who can be reached online at kevin. email@example.com.