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Comptroller News

Oversight of Austin ISD will continue for another year

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander said she was concerned with the lack of progress the Austin Independent School District has made implementing the major cost-saving recommendations in her year-old Texas School Performance Review (TSPR).

Due to the district's poor showing when it comes to saving money, the Comptroller announced she will take an uncommon step and return to the district in yet another year to report its progress on her recommendations.

"I outlined net savings of $57 million and the district has taken steps that eventually will save only $19 million--barely a third of what I recommended," Rylander says. AISD has failed to sell the Carruth Administration Center, eliminate excess portable buildings and fully reduce administration. The district's lack of action on these three recommendations has left about $38 million on the table.

Texas Tomorrow Fund Enrollment period open through May 2002

Texas families may enroll children in the Texas Tomorrow Fund through May 24, 2002, says Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

"With the Texas Tomorrow Fund, Main Street Texans don't have to worry about Wall Street volatility," Rylander says. "You're not only locking in your child's college tuition and required fees, you're also buying peace of mind at a time of economic uncertainty.

"With the Texas Tomorrow Fund, you pre-pay your child's college tuition and required fees at today's prices," Rylander says. "Later, when your child is ready for college, the state of Texas absolutely guarantees those expenses will be paid, no matter how much costs soar in the future."

Comptroller sends $291.9 million to Texas cities and counties

The Comptroller's office sent $291.9 million in local sales tax revenue to 1,113 Texas cities and 119 counties in November. That month's sales tax allocations were up 3.6 percent compared with November 2000. The allocations represent sales taxes collected in September by monthly filers and in July, August and September by quarterly filers.

However, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander said if it had not been for changes in sales tax law and application--the biggest of which was new or increased sales taxes in 46 local jurisdictions--September 2001 sales tax collections would have been almost identical to September 2000 sales tax revenue.

"These local sales tax figures confirm, even more strongly, what our state sales tax figures showed last week. The September 11 terrorist attacks reduced sales tax collections for a few days, but we bounced back," Rylander says.

Comptroller hires officers

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced she has hired Scott Scarborough as the chief executive officer of the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company (TTSTC) and Kay Howard as the agency's Human Resources manager.

Scarborough, formerly the vice president for business affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler, was brought on board October 1 and will manage more than $25.6 billion in TTSTC funds. As chief executive officer, Scarborough will plan, direct and oversee strategic operations of the company, while working with an advisory board on TexPool and tobacco settlement funds and interactions with state and local government entities.

Kay Howard will manage the Human Resources office for the Comptroller of Public Accounts' 2,800 employees.