July 19, 2012
The Granbury ISD Board of Trustees held a workshop to review proposals for the 2012-13 budget on July 17, 2012. Among the items discussed for possible inclusion in the budget were a reduction in the overall property tax rate and a raise for district employees.
Superintendent Dr. James Largent stated that finances are “healthy” and “in good shape” and the school district will finish the current fiscal year with a balanced budget, adding $1.6 million to the reserves and receiving a superior rating under the Fiscal Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST).
The new superintendent reported that last school year’s early resignation incentive will save the district $2.4 million in personnel costs, after one-time payments totaling $102,000 were paid to employees who were retiring or leaving the district.
The financial health of the district led Largent to recommend a salary increase for district employees – which could amount to a 2% average increase. The proposal follows a couple of years with frozen salaries. Teachers last had a step increase beginning in the 2010-11 school year, while it was last in 2009 that all other employees received a raise. The salary increase will help improve employee morale while also keeping GISD competitive with other districts, according to the superintendent.
Largent also addressed utilizing reserve funds for any capital projects or land acquisition rather than budgeting for contingencies in the operating budget; planning for curriculum, career and technology education programs, and facilities; an audit to evaluate energy and utility systems to target possible improvements for potential savings; summer school funding; and reporting of technology purchases.
Executive director of finance Sharay Boynton made presentations to board members regarding anticipated revenue and expenditures for the upcoming school year.
The proposed general operating budget of $60 million represents a 4.2% decrease of $4.9 million from the 2011-12 budget. Under the plan as presented, the overall tax rate could decrease by a half-cent to $1.145. The maintenance and operating tax rate will likely remain at $1.04, with the tax rate for debt service decreasing to $.105. The rate applies to $100 of taxable property valuation.
GISD will send approximately $8.8 million in local property tax dollars to the state for distribution to other school districts. This is required because the district is classified as a Chapter 41 property wealthy district under state law.
In addition, revenue from the state has decreased significantly by $5,068,750 – marking a 13.2% decrease over the two-year legislative budget cycle.
Salaries and benefits for district employees comprise approximately 82.6% of the proposed budget. The budget plan retains the current district contribution towards employee medical insurance: $350 monthly for full-time employees and $254 monthly for part-time employees. Compensation studies show that the medical benefit provides GISD employees with an additional $1,500 a year above other area school districts.
The board will consider the proposed tax rate for printed notification in the Hood County News at the next regular meeting on Monday, July 23. Final action on the budget and tax rate is scheduled for the regular meeting on Monday, August 27. Board meetings are held in the GISD Board Room located next to the Administration Building at 600 W. Pearl Street.
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