The Comal ISD board of trustees approved the $281.84 million budget for fiscal year 2021-22 during the June 24 meeting.

Approximately $196.42 million from local sources and $31.14 million from state and federal sources are anticipated to contribute to the $231.84 million general fund budget.

Expenditures for the general fund budget are expected to be 100% of the general fund budget, which will produce a deficit of $4.28 million in the fund. It will be the first time in recent years that the district will adopt a negative budget.

The board will hold a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, in November in an effort to secure more funds for the district.

A VATRE would allow the district to set a higher maintenance and operations tax rate than its current rate. The current tax rate for CISD is $0.92 per $100 property valuation, according to district officials. The rate was set to decrease to $0.87 per $100 valuation due to increased property values and compression.

The board will propose an increase of $0.06, for a new tax rate of $0.93 per $100 valuation. The district will officially call for the election Aug 16.

During the meeting the board voted to approve a resolution that, should the VATRE be passed by voters, would allow additional revenue to be used exclusively for district employee compensation and for addressing school staff relief.

If the VATRE passes, the district voted to approve a $1.50 per hour increase in compensation for all auxiliary and paraprofessional employees and a 3% increase for all other employees. If the VATRE does not pass, there would be no compensation increases from the 2020-2021 compensation plan.

Regardless of whether the VATRE passes, the board voted to approve a one-time teacher stipend of $400 for full-time employees and $200 for part-time employees to be paid Sept. 23.

Included in the FY 2021-22 budget are funds for school improvements, money to cover insurance increases brought on by the 2021 winter storm, technology renewals and more.

The board also approved a debt service fund of $78.48 million and a child nutrition fund of $11.63 million.