Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Pastusek gave a budget update to the Northwest ISD board of trustees on June 10. In it, Pastusek projected a $14.93 million budget shortfall.

The details

Pastusek reviewed components of the projected fiscal year 2024-25 budget and compared them to the same numbers from the FY 2023-24 amended revenue budget, which contained a $2.99 million budget shortfall. The two major factors causing the significant FY 2024-25 shortfall include:
  • A more than $20 million increase in payroll expenses
  • An over $14 million decrease in state funding
Pastusek compared NISD’s projected shortfall to eight surrounding school districts. They all had shortfalls ranging from $4.5 million to $20 million, with the average shortfall at $12.71 million.

During the May 6 school board meeting, the board of trustees discussed a possible voter-approval tax rate election in November to address a projected shortfall.

What they’re saying

Superintendent Mark Foust pointed out that school funding has become a major issue across the state.

“At what point does this become a school funding crisis?” Foust asked Pastusek.

“I think we’re well into a crisis,” Patusek said. “Inflation since 2019 is through the roof, and the basic allotment has not changed since 2019. Per-student revenue has gone down. Districts around us are cutting very important programs. They’re changing student-to-teacher ratios above what the state recommends. All of this together is a perfect storm of a funding crisis.”