Growing School District Asking Voters for Moolah

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    The Celina school district is asking voters for a 10-cent tax rate increase.

    Celina schools have a summer homework assignment for voters: The district is asking citizens to support a 10-cent tax rate increase.

    While the amount may sound alarming, the cost to the average homeowner is minimal, Superintendent Rob O'Connor said.

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    The Celina school district is asking voters for a 10-cent tax rate increase. (Published Tuesday, July 13, 2010)

    "The total on the average home in Celina -- it's $15.25 a month," he said.

    He said the money is needed to help pay for the growing district's operational budget, the types of budgetary items that direct impact classroom instruction, such as teacher salaries, utility bills and learning materials.

    "If it doesn't pass, we're faced with what many other district across the state are faced with right now, which is just budget cuts," O'Connor said.

    The Celina Independent School Distric tapped into its reserve fund during consecutive years, and much of that money has been depleted.

    O'Connor said Texas school districts can't expect to receive any additional funding from the state over the next few years as the Legislature deals with its own money woes.

    Celina is a still a small, mostly conservative town -- and usually votes that way -- so the tax hike is likely to draw opposition.

    But voters such as 27-year resident Joe Sagnibeene and eight-year resident Keri Owens say ensuring a quality education is worth paying for.

    "We are a growing community, and it's causing a tax raise," Sagnibeene said.

    Owens, a hair stylist who has four daughters in the school district, said she will vote in favor of the increase.

    "That's for our children, that's making our children better people, so I think anything for them, I think, would pass," she said.

    Celina students return to the classroom on Aug. 23. Voters will decide on the tax rate increase on Sept. 4.