“As you can imagine, it's very difficult to provide a realistic overview when there are quite a few finance-related bills that have been filed, and we are unsure of the budget impact at this time,” Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said.
In her presentation to the board, Smith noted House Bill 100, authored by state Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, is possibly the only avenue school districts have to get an increase in the basic allotment for education for the upcoming school year.
Smith explained the passage of HB 100 would mean a larger increase in the basic allotment than what has been allocated in HB 1 as it adds up to about $5.6 billion in allocations versus $5 billion in HB 1.
The basic allotment of $6,160 per student is the current amount, barring legislative action that results in an increase.
“The basic allotment in House Bill 100 will increase $140 over the biennium. ... That is $90 in 23-24, and then another $50 and 24-25. ... The amount of money that would provide the district over the biennium is about $20.4 million,” Smith said. “But in order to just recover from 14.5% inflation, they would need to increase the basic allotment by $900. That is considerably less than the amount they are allocating of $140.”
Smith said an increase in the basic allotment is critical for all school districts in the state. Budgets are being built now, and legislators need to let districts know what to expect as soon as possible. Teacher pay is a crucial line item in those budgets, she said.
“So as the 88th legislative session is winding down and is about three weeks away [from ending], some of the most pressing issues have not even been resolved. Bills for property tax relief and education savings accounts or vouchers are still in limbo,” Smith said. “The budget is the only bill the Legislature is legally required to pass during the 140-day session—and it's yet to be finalized.”
May 29 is the last day of the legislative session, although a special session is a possibility, Smith said.
CFISD board President Tom Jackson said the board must meet June 20 at 9 a.m. to approve a budget regardless of what the revenue provided by the Legislature will be at the time. The meeting will be open to the public.