The general operating fund budget includes $444.53 million in revenues and $467.42 million in expenses, creating a deficit in this fund of $17.2 million, RRISD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Adix said.
However, because of staff turnover and unfilled positions, the district will not end the year with a deficit, Adix said. The proposed budget assumes some positions will remain unfilled.
"That's kind of like the embedded pad in the budget, because you've got to budget everyone's salary,” he said.
Place 7 Trustee Danielle Weston proposed the budget scenario that the board approved, and Place 2 Trustee Mary Bone seconded the motion, which passed 4-3. Place 1 Trustee Dr. Jun Xiao, Place 4 Trustee Cory Vessa and Place 5 Trustee Amber Feller voted nay.
Weston spoke in favor of scenario 3, which does not use the district's last "golden penny."
Under HB 3, districts are given eight golden pennies to leverage for their maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax rates, which is not subject to recapture.
According to the Texas Education Agency, districts, such as RRISD which are designated for recapture, share some local property tax dollars with the state to be distributed to districts receiving fewer local tax dollars.
Place 2 Trustee Dr. Mary Bone said she would be open to an option combining an M&O tax rate of $0.8039 and an interest and sinking, or I&S tax rate of $0.23 for the overall lowest combined rate.
During the June 17 meeting, Xiao also spoke in support of reducing the tax burden on homeowners overall.
For FY 2021-22, the district will spend about $9,265 per student—an amount up about $524 from the $8,741 budgeted in FY 2020-21.
The adopted budget and debt-service fund scenario assumes a combined $1.1339 tax rate, representing a $0.8039 M&O rate and a $0.24 I&S rate. The I&S rate would be lowered by 2.48 cents from FY 2020-21. While the budget is based on these rates, the board will not adopt tax rates until September.
For the debt service fund, the budget includes revenues of $105.38 million and $108.07 million in expenses.
The proposed budget and tax rate assume an estimated 10% increase in property values, unchanged state funding levels and no funding for virtual learning.
The district also anticipates receiving about $14.8 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER III, funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.