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Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees hears COVID-19 comments, set property tax rate

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees meeting Thursday began with a lengthy address from parents and citizens about COVID-19 safety protocols. While no action was taken on the topic, the trustees did determine how much the district would tax them.

Board President Zach Brady told the crowd gathered in the boardroom and on teleconference that 29 people had signed up to speak at the meeting. However, a few did not and two spoke on other topics. The rest were mixed, with people speaking in favor and against the district moving beyond its current protocols.

“We ask you to consider the items of vaccination encouragement, masking guidelines, aggressive testing and committed reporting of disease contacts,” Pediatrician Dr. Douglas Klepper told the board. “We believe that the lives of our community and our children are dependent upon you to make this commitment.”

Dr. Klepper was the first to speak. He gave the board documents from the Lubbock County Medical Society outlining its recommendations to Lubbock ISD.

Others brought forward letters from people who they said were concerned citizens or pointed to their research for why no more protocols should be in place.

Ultimately, with nothing on the agenda regarding the topic, the Board of Trustees took no action.

“I think that given the current public health situation it is appropriate for us to continue to welcome mask wearing,” Brady said. “Even though I think the masks inhibit the quality of teaching and learning, I think it’s important to welcome that individual choice. I hope that we don’t reach a point where we have to do more than that. I think at present, the intention is to stay where we are of welcoming masks and encouraging vaccinations.”

The vote on a resolution to adopt the property tax rate was also on the agenda. The board voted unanimously to reduce the rate to $1.13550 per $100 valuation from $1.1514.

With an increase in property values, determined by the Lubbock County Central Appraisal District, property owners should still expect to pay more. According to the district resolution, a $100,000 home will pay $48.70 more next year.

“That is going to yield more revenue from local taxes, but the district won’t get any more total revenue,” Brady said. “Simply, we’ll get less money from the state, because we’re going to get the same amount of money per student.”

Brady tells KCBD that the state funding contribution will be reduced as more tax revenue is collected. He also takes issue with how state legislation requires the district to call this a raise of the tax rate.

“We did not increase the tax rate,” Brady said. “Also, we didn’t adopt the law that requires us to use that language.”

Brady points out Lubbock ISD has the lowest tax rate of the major districts in Lubbock County and believes property owners are getting the best out of their money.

“We have to fund public education, which is certainly a not an inexpensive endeavor,” Brady said. “Hopefully we get a workforce and a set of citizens coming out of public education that are worth what our citizens are paying for.”

To watch the meeting, click here.

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