Leander ISD is projected to end the 2023-24 fiscal year with a $3.8 million budget shortfall, Chief Financial Officer Pete Pape said at a Feb. 15 board of trustees meeting.

The district is expecting to receive less revenue due to student enrollment being lower than projected and a reduction in federal funding.

What you need to know

The district projects losing $6.7 million in state aid due to lower than projected student enrollment, according to district documents.

An October report by Population & Survey Analysts showed student enrollment growth in the district was slowing compared to previous years as more charter schools opened in the area, multifamily housing development slowed and fewer homes resold.

This fiscal year, the district will receive $5.2 million less than it budgeted to receive in federal Medicaid reimbursements for special needs students, known as the School Health and Related Services program, Pape said. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced it would cut SHARS funding by over $300 million across the state in December due to the results of a federal audit, according to HHSC data.

The reduction in SHARS funding is the main reason the district is expecting a budget shortfall as LISD would have seen revenues above expenditures if it received the full $6 million it budgeted for, Pape told Community Impact.

What else?

Lower than projected enrollment may allow the district to save money on payroll due to needing fewer positions. Staffing was based on a projected enrollment of 43,543, according to the document, while the district had 42,589 students as of October.

Payroll savings may also be attributed to the following factors, according to the document:
  • Difficulty recruiting and retaining operational and instructional staff
  • Funding positions with federal funds, including the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund
  • Transportation vacancies due to route schedule changes
  • Police department vacancies as the district looks to hire for newly approved positions
The district is also expected to see savings in contracted services, travel and supplies.

Stay tuned

The projected $3.8 mililon budget shortfall may decrease as the fiscal year comes to a close, Pape said.