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Rockwall ISD School Board removes face mask requirement effective June 1, approves storm damage repair costs

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Board Eliminates Face Mask/Covering Requirement Effective June 1 for Summer Activities and 2021-2022 School Year

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to eliminate the face mask/covering requirements effective June 1, 2021, pursuant to the Texas Education Agency Public Health Guidance and Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34. As a result of the Board’s action, students, teachers and staff may voluntarily wear masks or face coverings beginning Tuesday, June 1. In addition, this action allows parents, teachers, and staff to plan for voluntary mask-wearing for summer school, camps, activities, and the 2021-2022 school year. 

Board Approves Damage Repair Costs for School Facilities

The Board of Trustees approved a statement of cost for the multi-campus facilities repairs as a result of Winter Weather Storm Uri February 11 through February 19. Due to the weather event, the District sustained significant physical damage across multiple facilities: Dr. Gene Burton College and Career Academy, Pullen Elementary, Rockwall-Heath High School multipurpose building, and Hartman Elementary. Approximately $2.6 million in damage costs include: 

  • Waterline breaks in building fire suppression systems, building domestic water supply lines,
  • Extensive flooding in ceilings, walls, floors, cafeterias, stages, gymnasiums, etc.,
  • Water damage to furnishings, wood and particle board finishes, door jams, library books and shelves, technology devices, gymnastics equipment, wrestling mats and pads, and
  • Structural damage to building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Preliminary 2021-2022 Budget Update Presented 

David Carter, Senior Chief Financial Officer, presented preliminary 2021-2022 budget information. Budget highlights include: 

  • Property Value Factors – Projections are fluid due to uncertainty from COVID-19 and substantial storm damage,
  • Tax Rate – Expect a decrease in the maintenance and operations tax rate per HB 3 with the possibility of reducing the interest and sinking tax rate as well,
  • Student Enrollment Growth – Expect a continuation of moderate and steady enrollment growth; Rockwall ISD ranks 10th in the DFW metroplex for new home closings,
  • Compensation Plan – Budget projections included recommendations from a comprehensive salary study, and 
  • Legislative Session – Continue to monitor the session, in particular COVID-19 relief funding.

Carter also explained the District’s tax rate mitigation strategies and impact:

Conservative tax value projections when developing capital bond programsThe 2015 Bond was projected to require a tax rate increase up to a maximum of $0.47 – today the I&S tax rate is $0.37.
Continuously reviewing opportunities for Bond RefundingSince 2015, the District has initiated transactions that have saved taxpayers $90,453,816 in interest costs.
Effectively managing the District’s overall operating budgetThe District levies the lowest tax rate of most surrounding Districts, no major programmatic reductions, and has not asked voters for a Tax Ratification Election.

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