The new budget approved Aug. 24 by the board of trustees includes $543 million in general fund expenditures. This represents a nearly 8% increase over last year’s general fund budget and includes a number of one-time expenses related to COVID-19, such as new curriculum, staff training and cleaning costs.
But the bulk of the new expenditures is attributed to 2% pay raises for district employees and an increase in the district’s mandatory recapture payment, according to the budget documents.
Recapture payments are determined by a state formula that supplements the state's education budget with money from property-wealthy school districts. Lewisville ISD’s recapture payment rose from $18.6 million last year to $32.4 million. This money goes to the Texas Education Agency and is not available for the district's classroom and administrative costs.
To fund this level of expenditures, the district will need to pull about $12 million from its own reserves after accounting for revenue from property taxes and other sources.
In an unusual move for the district, trustees adopted their budget before they voted on a final property tax rate for the 2020-21 school year.
“We were really creating a budget, not just on the fly, but with lots of ambiguity because of COVID,” said Mark Youngs, the district’s chief financial officer.
The district will not have enough information to set a final tax rate until September, Youngs said, when officials are provided with more complete versions of the property tax appraisal rolls.