The Humble ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the district’s 2018 Tax rate at $1.52 per $100 property valuation at their October meeting. This is the 10th year in a row the board has been able to avoid an increase in its ad valorem tax rate on property within the school district. The last time an increase was required was in 2008 when the rate was increased from 1.31 percent to the present 1.52 percent. The overall rate consists of two components, both of which remain unchanged: $1.17 designated for maintenance and operations and $0.35 for interest and debt servicing costs.

When Trustee Martina Dixon made the motion to approve the tax rate, one of the trustees enthusiastically and loudly said, “It’s the same. It’s the same. No, you’re not raising it!”

Board President Charles Cunningham jokingly responded, “I was going to ask if there are any questions.”

In other business, the board approved $4.95 million of expenditures for baseball and softball field renovations at Turner Stadium from the district’s capital project fund.

They also authorized the transfer of $500,000 from restricted contingency funds for pipe removal and associated costs on the land for the planned Elementary School No. 29.

The sale of approximately 0.0884 acres in Harris County was also approved. This land is 3,850 square feet of property located near the Oak Forest Elementary campus and the intersection of FM 1960 and Kings Parkway. The Texas Department of Transportation, which holds the power of eminent domain, approached the district to acquire the property for the purpose of the expansion of FM 1960. The administration negotiated the purchase price of $36,950.

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen addressed the board and the audience. She called attention to a cooperative project that two of the district’s high schools have jointly undertaken to assist improving the conditions of the more than 4,000 homeless veterans in Harris County.

“Last school year, students from Summer Creek High School and Kingwood Park High School initiated a project to apply their learning to a real-world challenge. These students envisioned building a community of mini homes for homeless veterans,” said Fagen.

She said that since the beginning of this project, the students have made many presentations to businesses and community leaders to gain support, have been featured on TV news, and continue to make progress every day in a project that extends beyond the walls of the district’s classrooms. The objective is to design and build a tiny home for $25,000. The project is well on the way to providing a real prototype home.

Fagen introduced a video of the project and said, “I am proud to show the ongoing initiative of students helping veterans: ‘Big Heroes, Tiny Homes.’”

Following the video, over a dozen of the students in the project were called forward to be recognized by a most appreciative board of trustees.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.