The Northwest ISD board of trustees approved June 28 a $243 million budget for the 2021-22 school year.

The approved budget expects a $2 million deficit, but federal relief funding has been allocated to NISD and will make up that deficit once it is released to the district.

This year, 80.5% of budgeted revenue will go to payroll expenses, according to a presentation by Chief Financial Officer Brian Carter. That number is down from 84.1% in 2020-21, although 2021-22 payroll expenses include about $2 million in positions that will be covered by the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Program, or ESSER III.

“That $2,015,000 [is] salaries that will be moved to ESSER III,” Carter said. “Once we make the application and receive the ability to request to draw those funds down ... we will reclassify those expenditures.”

Those positions, including math and English teachers, counselors and elementary-level interventionists, will help fulfill the ESSER III directive of addressing learning loss in students.

The district is still working on a spending plan for the rest of the $7,405,820 allocated to the district, which will be allocated to the district over the next two to three years. Previously, the district received a little more than $3 million in the second round of ESSER funding.

Payroll expenses also include positions created by bringing bus transportation services in-house, a move approved by the board in April. Carter said that move is now expected to save the district $3.9 million.

As part of the district budget, the board also adopted an $11.7 million food service fund and a $15.8 million debt service fund, both expected to operate on a surplus.

Although a proposed tax rate will come before the board for approval in August, Carter said the rate is expected to stay the same, at 42 cents.