Spring ISD 2016 budget The SISD board of trustees is from left: Chris Bell, Justine Durant, Jana Gonzales, Rodney Watson, Deborah Jensen, Rhonda Faust, Rhonda Newhouse and Donald Davis.[/caption]

The Spring Independent School District board of trustees adopted a $377 million preliminary operating budget for 2016-17 on Tuesday with no increase in the district tax rate and a 1 percent salary raise for all staff.

The budget is $1 million lower than last year’s $378 million budget. It includes $299 million in the general fund, $51 million in the debt service fund and $26 million in the child nutrition fund.

“We are working hard with limited funds to offer more opportunities and choices to our families while maintaining the strong programs already in place,” Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said.

The cost-of-living raise increases the starting teacher salary to $51,760.

Last year, teachers received a 6 percent raise, said Deeone McKeithan, SISD chief human resources officer

“Although this year was a tight budget year, our employees remain one of our highest priorities, and we want to be fair and consistent with them,” McKeithan said.

At the board’s June 7 meeting, residents addressed the board with concerns that the district would consider cutting staff in its Performing and Visual Arts department.

“No one at PVA is going to lose their job as the result of this proposed budget,” Superintendent Rodney Watson said.

The district tax rate remains at $1.47 per $100 of assessed property value, which includes a Maintenance and Operations tax rate of $1.04 and a 43-cent Interest and Sinking tax rate, which pays debt service on bonds.

Additional foreign language teachers and courses are included in the budget, as well as additional Career and Technical Education elective courses.

“Developing the annual budget can be challenging, particularly in tough budget environments like the one we are seeing now across the city, state and nation,” Watson said. “Working as a team, the district was able to focus on priorities that will help all students at all levels achieve academic success.”