## Property Taxes

by Coy Holcombe.

Soon, the property owners in the district will start receiving their tax statements for the 2008-2009 school year. I would like to briefly go over the exemptions that may affect your tax bill and give an example of how your school property taxes are calculated.

First, all homesteads are granted a \$15,000 exemption from the state. Further, EISD provides an optional 20% homestead exemption. This 20% optional exemption is deducted before the \$15,000 exemption is deducted. EISD is one of the few districts in this area that still grants the optional homestead exemption.

To see how these exemptions work, let’s look at an example. Suppose we were paying taxes on our home that has a value of \$100,000. Assuming that this property is declared a homestead, we would be entitled to two exemptions: the optional 20% homestead exemption and the \$15,000 homestead exemption from the state. The exemptions would be calculated as follows:

20% Optional Exemption is taken first. \$100,000 x 20% = \$20,000. So the optional homestead exemption would deduct \$20,000 from the taxable value of this home. \$100,000 – \$20,000 = \$80,000.

Next, the state homestead exemption of \$15,000 is deducted: \$80,000 – \$15,000 = \$65,000. So the taxable value for school district taxes on this \$100,000 home is \$65,000.

To calculate the school property taxes owed on this \$100,000 home, we would now do the following:

Take the taxable value after all exemptions: \$65,000. Divide this amount by 100. This would give us 650. Multiply this figure by the district tax rate of \$1.258: 650 x \$1.258 = \$817.70. So, a taxpayer in our district with a home valued at \$100,000 would pay about \$820.00 in school property taxes. Again, this example is assuming that the homeowner has declared this property to be their homestead. There are also other exemptions that may apply to certain individuals.

If EISD did not offer the optional 20% homestead exemption, the taxes on the above property would be approximately \$1070.00 (\$100,000 – \$15,000 = \$85,000 ÷100 x 1.258). If you have any questions concerning your property taxes, please contact Debbie Myers (425 – 5232 or dmyers@eustaceisd.net). Please do not hesitate to email me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net with your questions or comments. I hope everyone has a fantastic week.

## ParentConnection

by Coy Holcombe.

The electronic grade book that the district uses, GradeSpeed, has a feature called ParentConnection that allows parents/guardians to monitor their children’s grade via the Internet. Attendance can also be monitored this way. In order to take advantage of these features, all you need is an Internet connection and an email address.

One of the best features of the ParentConnection program is the ability to set “triggers” for your children. Triggers will generate an email or text message if your child’s average in any case falls below an average that you have set. Triggers can also be used to monitor your child’s attendance. To set triggers, you must be logged into ParentConnection. On the left side of the page, click on the “Triggers” link.

You can access ParentConnection anytime to view your child’s current averages. The averages are clickable and will let you see all the grades that make up that average. I encourage all parents to take advantage of this informative tool.

## Videos on the Website

by Coy Holcombe.

Last year, visitors to our homepage had an opportunity to view weekly video updates from the high school. There were also videos available of special events at other campuses. This year EISD is expanding its video content at all campuses. We are doing this for several reasons: first, it is important that our students know and learn how to use this technology. Second, this gives an opportunity for parents to view events that they may not have been able to attend. Third, it gives community members an opportunity to keep up with some of the events happening at EISD. Finally, as we expand our video library, we hope to be able to provide parents and students with an opportunity to review important presentations at a later time.

One of the major goals this year was the live broadcast of a Friday night football game over the Internet. Rusty Meyners, the district’s technology coordinator, has done an outstanding job in making this a reality. Rusty has also recruited high school students to help in this undertaking.

As this year progresses, EISD will be adding to its video library. Please visit the homepage and click on the television for a listing of available videos at each campus.

## Atomic Learning

by Coy Holcombe.

If you have visited our homepage, you have seen the link for Atomic Learning (or AL for short). Atomic Learning has an entire library of videos devoted to technology applications and other technology topics. EISD has contracted with Atomic Learning to provide this library for all staff members, students, and community members. There is no charge to anyone to use this library.

You will need a log-in name and a password to get into the system. Although this library of videos is made available for all to use, contractual obligations prevent EISD from posting the log-in and password on the homepage. Instead, just send an email to AL@EustaceISD.net and the log-in and password will be emailed to you. Again, I want to emphasize that this is a service available not only to our faculty and students, but to community members as well.

I encourage you to take advantage of this vast resource. Once in the Atomic Learning website, you can search for specific topics or applications. Most of the topics have the lessons broken down into short segments. You can view all the lessons in order or pick and choose which topics you want to watch. If you have any questions concerning Atomic Learning, please email me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

## Compensatory Funding

by Coy Holcombe.

EISD receives about 59% of its funding from the state. The other 41% comes from local sources. The 59% from the state is made up of various programs. One of the programs is compensatory funding. Compensatory funding is based on the number of students with approved free and reduced lunch applications. Actually, the exact number is the average of the highest six months of approved applications from the previous federal fiscal year. So, right now, EISD is receiving compensatory funding based on the number of approved applications from October 2007 – September 2008. Currently, this number is about 1021.

As stated before, this 1021 is the average of the highest six months from the previous federal fiscal year. This number might increase somewhat based on the approved applications from September 2008; however, at this point it will not decrease any.

To calculate our state compensatory funding, take the district’s compensatory number, 1021, and multiply it by our adjusted allotment. The adjusted allotment is the greater of several different allotments that are calculated by the state. For EISD, our adjusted allotment is \$3,614. Multiplying these two numbers together gives us \$3,689,894. However, at his point, the state is only funding 20% of this allotment. Now, take \$3,689,894 and multiply it by 20% = \$737,978. From this allotment, the state deducts an amount to help pay for the cost of state testing and other related expenses. For EISD, the state deducts about \$62,000. So, that leaves EISD receiving about \$676,000 in compensatory funding.

EISD uses its compensatory funding to pay for certain teachers’ salaries, certain paraprofessional salaries, tutorials, special programs, and supplies and materials. If you have any questions about our compensatory program, or any other program in EISD, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

## Friday

by Coy Holcombe.

What a fantastic Friday night! Everything got started about 2:30 with a parade and pep rally held at Bulldog Stadium. Special thanks goes out to the National Champion TVCC Cheerleading Squad for taking time out of their busy schedule to come over and participate in our pep rally.

After that, our varisty volleyball team got the evening started by posting another win. We had a tremendous crowd to see our Bulldogs win their homecoming game 41-32. Before the game, Brandy Hilliard was crowned homecoming queen for 2008. At halftime, everyone enjoyed the performance of the Bulldog Band. Also at halftime, there were several staff members recognized for their service to EISD. We have 8 staff members with 30 or more years of service to the district. These staff members include: Geraldine Carson – 30 years, Rob Tyner – 30 years, Janice Beasley – 30 years, Judy Wimberley – 31 years, Henry Carter – 32 years, Nettie Holland – 35 years, Chuck Powers – 40 years, and Elbert Kirk – 45 years.

Special thanks goes out to everyone who made this homecoming weekend a great success. The athletic booster club officers and members put in a lot of hours in preparation for homecoming. Our maintenance staff worked many hours making sure that our facilities were in top condition. Our EHS cheerleaders, which is the best cheerleading squad in this area, did a fantastic job with the signs and cheering on our Bulldogs.

Finally, I want to thank all the ex-students for making the trip home to Eustace. I hope each of you had a fantastic homecoming.

## Community Effort

by Coy Holcombe.

The original bonfire was built and in place on Wednesday. Our ag department worked hard getting the wood in place for this community event. Sometime late Wednesday night, this bonfire was vandalized and destroyed. However, school personnel and community members came to the rescue Thursday. I wish I had the names of everyone that contributed to rebuilding the bonfire. I do know that Jack Wallace, Haskell Cook, Donald Slay, and Doug Wendell spent a good portion of Thursday morning hauling and stacking wood. I know that Chance Sutton offered all the wood that we needed for the bonfire. I know that we had parents and students bring in pickup loads of wood yesterday afternoon. And, I know that the bonfire last night was a great success.

Thank you to all the people that came together to make this bonfire happen. I hope everyone has a great homecoming weekend!

## Hurricane Aftermath

by Coy Holcombe.

It is still early in the day, but it appears that EISD did not suffer any hurricane related damage. Our maintenance crews are checking out each campus this morning. While we will probably have a few leaks from the wind-blown rain, there is no outward appearance of any damage to our buildings or other structures.

A special thank you goes out to all our maintenance staff and technology staff for their preparations for the storm. Proactive measures were implemented by each of these staffs to ensure that our electronic equipment and data would not be damaged by the storm. In addition, our maintenance staff stayed well into the night on Friday to clean up after the football game and to make sure everything was secured.

## Open House

by Coy Holcombe.

Tomorrow, between the hours of 1:00 and 2:15, we are having an open house for all ex-students and community members to tour district campuses. I would like to extend a personal invitation to all ex-students to come by and see the new additions at each of our campuses. We are certainly proud of all of our new facilities and extremely thankful to the community for their support in the construction of these facilities. For anyone that has been away for awhile, I would like to briefly recap the construction that has taken place over the last two years:

Primary – We have completely enclosed the campus and added approximately 20 new classrooms and a new media center. Of our four campuses, this is the campus that has seen the most dramatic change in appearance and functionality.

Intermediate – New classrooms were added and a new cafeteria seating area was added onto the back of the existing Primary cafeteria.

Middle School – A new practice gym was added that included new dressing rooms and a new weight room.

High School – New classrooms were added as well as a new science lab. The High School was also completely remodeled on the inside. Murals have also been added on a couple of walls.

New Competition Gym (under construction) – The new gym is being constructed on the west end of the football parking lot.

New Transportation Facility (under construction) – This is being built on FM 316, just south of Bulldog Stadium.

As a result of the new construction, we have been able to relocate two of the portables that were being used as classrooms to other places in the district. One is now located next to the band hall and serves as a practice building for the band. Another portable was relocated south of the Primary school and serves as our DAEP.

Again, none of this would have been possible without the support from the community

## Homecoming 2008

by Coy Holcombe.

There are many activities planned for the rest of the week in celebration of Homecoming 2008. Preparations for these events have been ongoing for some time now. I would like to thank our athletic booster club president, Shelley Compton, all the athletic booster club officers, and all the booster club members for the hard work they have put in preparing for homecoming.

Over the next few days the following events and activities will be taking place:

Thursday – September 18, 2008

• Football – 7th/ 8th/ JV @ Quitman – 5:00 P.M. Start Time
• Parking Lot Party sponsored by Franklin Bank (FREE HOT DOGS/CHIPS/DRINKS) – 5:30 P.M. – in front of visitors entrance at Bulldog Stadium
• Bonfire – approx – 8:00 P.M. (will be on the south side of the visitors bleachers – nearest 316)

Friday – 9/19/08

• Open House – 1:00 – 2:15 – All Campuses
• Parade and Pep Rally – 2:30 P.M. – starting at the high school
• Volleyball – F/JV/V – vs. Quitman – 4:30 – Bulldog Gym
• Pre-Game Ceremonies – 7:00 P.M. (Crowning of Homecoming Queen)
• Eustace vs. Quitman – 7:30 P.M. Kickoff – Bulldog Stadium
• Homecoming Dance – featuring Mike McConathy Jr and Real Country – tickets are \$5.00 each person or \$7.00 per couple – children under 12 are free with attending parentsTickets may be purchased at the high school from Martha Ray’s office

Saturday – 9/20/08

• Cross Country – @ Kilgore – 8:00 A.M. Start
• Parade – Town Square – 10:00 A.M.
• Homecoming Lunch – 11:30 – 1:30 – HS Cafeteria
• Group Reunions 1:30 – 5:00
• Pre – 1965 – HS Cafeteria
• 1965 – 1984 – Primary Cafeteria
• 1985 – 2008 – Intermediate Cafeteria