Johnny Hill—Lake Travis ISD’s assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services—provided the board of trustees with an initial look into the 2020-21 school year budget during a Jan. 15 board meeting.
The LTISD five-year budget model showed an estimated tax rate decrease in 2020-21, with the rate projected at $1.3154 per $100 valuation. Residents also saw a tax rate decrease of $0.07 for the 2019-20 school year, with the adopted tax rate of $1.3375.
Hill also mentioned that the board of trustees may be delayed in officially adopting the tax rate for 2020-21 due to the required certification of the Texas Education Agency. The 2020-21 budget will be officially adopted in August, with the tax rate potentially being approved a month later.
The district also expects to see a slight increase in its recapture rate next year, with the total increasing from $39.78 million to $41.55 million.
Texas’ recapture system, often referred to as “Robin Hood,” requires districts with a value per student higher than $541,000 to pay a recapture rate based on the district’s taxable value, according to the Texas Education Agency. The money is collected by Texas’ education fund and redistributed to districts with a lower socio-economic status in an attempt to equalize funding.
Despite recapture rates likely increases, Hill told the district that House Bill 3 was kind to the district.
The budget projections also estimate a balanced budget in 2020-21, with a projected ending fund balance of $42.57 million, showing no change from the previous year.
Superintendent Brand Lancaster noted that the district has often increased its budget annually, however they have done so in a fiscally responsible way. LTISD saw a $2.5 million change in its budget during the 2019-20 school year.
This is in part due to enrollment increases. LTISD, a fast growing district has seen yearly enrollment increases, with the overall enrollment projected at 11,490 in the next school year. According to Hill, the district has grown by 80% in the 11 years he has worked for LTISD.
“The budget is going up, but it’s going up a lesser percentage of our student enrollment,” Lancaster said.
Hill said that the board of trustees will continue the budget process, which usually lasts eight months with projected budgets being handed out in February.