Austin ISD proposed 2019 budget includes salary increase despite $28.5 million deficit

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Austin ISD could run at a $28.3 million deficit in fiscal year 2019, based on a presentation to the district’s board of trustees Monday about the recommended budget.

Recommended budget expenditures for FY 2019 will total $1.6133 billion, while revenues will total $1.5847 billion, according to the presentation.

If approved, the recommended budget includes a 1.5 percent increase for regular, part-time and full-time employees that will cost the district $8.1 million.

AISD Executive Director of Finance David Edger and Travis Zander, director of budget and planning, presented the information.

The board could vote to approve the budget after a public hearing in June.

Expenditure breakdown

Recommended general fund expenditures—which cover general district operations, salaries, maintenance, educational materials and state recapture payments—will total about $1.44 billion.

“We wanted to highlight that we have given raises [each year] since the 2014-15 school year and we are recommending that we continue that trend with a 1.5 percent raise,” Zander said. “One of the benefits that AISD is unique to is paying into social security, which has cost the district an estimated $33 million a year. This is a continued investment the district is making and it is something that is a major part of our budget.”

An anticipated $669.6 million will be paid to Texas in recapture payments, which is about $123.6 million higher than the $546 million the district will pay for recapture in fiscal year 2018. Recapture payments will make up 42 percent of the district’s total budget, according to the presentation.

“Austin Independent School District has the distinct honor of being the single-largest payer of recapture of any district in the state of Texas,” Edger said.

With 52 percent of property taxes collected by the district expected to go to the state, he said FY 2019 will be the first AISD has given back more than it has been able to keep. That number could rise to 60 percent in the 2020s, he said.

Non-general fund expenditures include about $41 million dedicated to food service and $128.2 million that will be used to pay back district bond debt.

Revenue breakdown

According to the presentation, anticipated district general fund revenues for FY 2019 include:
• $1.31 billion in local tax revenue, an increase of $104.3 million compared to FY 2018.
• $78.4 million in state funding, an increase of $15.8 million compared to FY 2018.
• $24.2 million in federal funding, a decrease of $3.8 million compared to FY 2018.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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