Plano ISD officials adopted the district’s fiscal year 2024-25 budget of $699.8 million, which includes a $35 million shortfall.

The district’s board of trustees unanimously approved the new budget during its June 25 meeting.

What you need to know

The district’s $35 million shortfall is up from a $24 million budget shortfall the board approved for FY 2023-24.

PISD’s actual budget deficit at the end of FY 2023-24 was about $20 million, according to a presentation from district staff, and PISD Deputy Superintendent Johnny Hill said he expects the actual deficit to be less than $35 million at the end of FY 2024-25.

“The budget of $35 million would be a worst-case scenario,” he said. “Normally we’ll end up somewhere better than that, but it will still be a deficit at the end of the year, and that amount is only growing over time.”

The details

Hill said the biggest change to the budget from FY 2023-24 is that the district is no longer receiving federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, which were meant to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district is also facing a $155.6 million recapture payment. Recapture redistributes property tax dollars from property-wealthy districts to those the state deems property poor.

Hill added that more than 80% of the district’s expenditures go toward payroll, and a 3% raise for all teachers and staff that was approved earlier this year will cost about $10.1 million for the district.

“We want very desperately to be able to pay our teachers more and provide all of the services that we provide. But it’s a bitter pill to swallow to have a $35 million deficit budget,” trustee Jeri Chambers said. “2011 is a time when we did not give a pay raise at all, and we’re still trying to catch up from that. We have to learn that lesson—we can’t do a zero raise.”

The outlook

Hill said the district is “blessed” to have a healthy fund balance that can offset the budget shortfall, but added that continuing to approve large budget shortfalls is “impossible to sustain” over time.

“The taxes we get to keep per student hasn’t increased since 2018-19,” Hill said. “I would say that if you look out over the next three or four years, if we don’t get help, then we will be cutting into programs in order to make cash flow.”

Earlier this month, the district approved a long-range facility plan that will include the closure of four campuses following the 2024-25 school year. The closures will not be accompanied by programming or staff cuts, and Superintendent Theresa Williams said there are no plans for future cuts.

“We’ve not reduced positions, we’ve not cut programs—and right now there are no plans to do that,” she said. “Our hope is that in January we can get adequate relief from the state so that we don’t have to, and we don't have a doomsday scenario when you look at the five-year forecast.”

Quote of note

“This is not just a Plano ISD issue; this is affecting districts across the state,” Williams said. “Everybody is dealing with inflation while trying to properly run the school district.”

Learn more

The full staff presentation on PISD's projected budget can be found on the district's website.