The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees approved the 2017-2018 budget, totaling $413.7 million, at its June 20 called Board meeting.
Taxpayers will contribute an additional $29 million in tax collections for the General Operating fund during 2017-2018 as compared to updated estimates for 2016-2017. That additional revenue is offset by reductions in state contributions of $18.1 million and a requirement to make Chapter 41 recapture payments to the state of Texas totaling $9.7 million, leaving minimal additional revenue, said Randy Staats, Chief Financial Officer.
“Our District has historically been conservative in budgeting to ensure positive financial performance and remained responsible for our taxpayers, staff, and students,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores said. “Continuing to see the impact that the broken state school finance system has on our District’s funding, we will remain hopeful, yet realistic, that future changes to funding formulas will be implemented. Until then, we will continue to plan for our financial future and work toward further creating systems of efficiencies within our District to provide our students and families with the world-class learning environments they deserve.”
The $25 million increase in expenditures can be attributed in large part to unfunded mandates, payments of taxpayer funds to the state of Texas as part of Chapter 41 recapture, and accounting standards totaling $13.4 million. Also, a factor was $6.7 million in salary increases for all employees, which was approved by the Board at its May 11 meeting.
Other significant expenditures include an additional $2 million that has been allocated for increased staffing in anticipation of 526 additional students for the 2017-2018 school year. Staffing of Pearson Ranch Middle School, the District’s 11th middle school has also been included in the budget.
“As Round Rock ISD continues to grow, our ongoing mission is to support all of our world-class students and educators while being mindful of our taxpayers,” Board President Diane M. Cox said. “I commend our Trustees and finance team for their efforts in making this a collaborative budget process and for ensuring that we operate in the best interests of our students and community.”
As part of the budget, the District will be operating at a projected $14.8 million, one-year deficit that will be manageable. The projected deficit is due to the multiple variables that contributed to expenditure increases and a decrease in state contributions to the District.
Historically, the District has not reached a deficit from regular operations, even when a deficit budget was adopted.
The Board will vote on a tax rate during the August meeting, with the projected rate decreasing from 2016-2017, $1.30 per $100 valuation.