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MISD budget stung by House Bill 3

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Medina Independent School District Superintendent Kevin Newsom doesn’t mince words when talking about how the state treated his district under House Bill 3.

The public school funding law passed by the Texas Legislature this year aimed to lower property taxes for property owners and give teacher raises among other things.

It appears to have done that but not without taking a toll on some school districts like Medina ISD, Newsom said.

“The issue with House Bill 3 is how it treated all school districts differently. We waited eight-to-ten years looking for a new school finance bill with some parity where rural school districts are treated the same way as bigger school districts. House Bill 3 is not that,” the superintendent said.

Under House Bill 3 mandates, Medina ISD is being called on to give its teachers more than $200,000 in raises, but the state provided the district with slightly over $50,000 to help pay for the raises.

“This will be a challenging first year under House Bill 3 but not anything we haven’t faced before. As far as financial integrity goes, Medina ISD is solid,” Newsom said, adding that the district’s financial report to the state got a superior rating.

“MISD is probably more financially solid than we have been in years, and our community supported a $5.9 million bond recently to provide for campus upgrades, including safety,” he said.

Newsom said a number of Texas school districts likely will have deficit budgets for the new school year but not MISD.

“We will have a balance budget,” he said.

Where the budget cuts will come from was unclear last week, but that should change when the district’s trustees meet on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to vote on a new school district budget. The meeting will be at One Bobcat Lane in Medina and will start at 6:30 p.m.

They also are expected to vote on a property tax rate for the 2020 year. Officials said with the changes imposed on the district by House Bill 3, that rate is expected to fall next year to 97 cents per $100 valuation in the property being taxes.

The district’s currently taxes property at $1.04 per $100 valuation.