Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

BEN BOLT - Despite a blackout caused by an accident on County Road 465 and U.S. Highway 281, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD board members continued their meeting in the dark Thursday night at BB-PB High School, reading their paperwork by flashlight.

District bookkeeper Norma Perez reviewed the agenda item calling for a Maintenance and Operation proposed tax rate and an Interest and Sinking tax rate not to exceed state requirements. According to the state, Perez said the proposed M&O tax rate couldn't exceed $1.04 per $100 property valuation during the 2007-2008 school year.

The district also cannot exceed a 14-cents limit in the Interest and Sinking, which is the portion of the tax rate used by the district to pay off bond debts.

The board agreed unanimously not to exceed the limits described by Perez.

Superintendent Dr. Grace Everett said that last year, the district M&O was set at $1.26 per $100 worth of property valuation, and the I&S was set at 11 cents.

The district has held two budget workshops in the last two weeks, to determine how much funding will be necessary for the upcoming school year.

Everett said the district had yet to confer with Jim Wells County Appraisal District Chief Sidney Vela on the calculations of the tax rate.

She did say, though, that more than likely, the board will propose a tax rate lower than the limit approved during Thursday's meeting. Everett said a proposed tax rate would probably be published in the newspaper as early as next week.

Following the board's announcement of the proposed rate, they still must hold public hearings to give the public an opportunity to voice their opinions, before the board can approve the rate.