CFISD board members unanimously approved these measures as part of the district’s $1.09 billion budget at the June 24 meeting. Additionally, trustees approved raising the starting teacher salary to $58,500—up from $56,000 in 2021-22.
Trustees initially considered 3% raises for employees at a June 21 meeting but discussed increasing that number based on feedback from teachers who said the rate of inflation and health insurance premiums are increasing more than their salaries.
“[What] we heard from—not just the speakers tonight but throughout this timeframe—is that they’ve put in more [work] and been paid less for what they’ve put in. And so, if we are able to do over 3%, I would love for us to consider it in lieu of a stipend. I think a pay increase would be more well-received than just a stipend,” Trustee Don Ryan said June 21.
Trustee John Ogletree proposed the amendment to add the $1,000 stipend for hourly employees ahead of the final vote.
Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said about 6,200 district employees are included in this category, so this addition would cost the district about $6.2 million. She said she believes this ultimately with have minimal effects on the budget and projects the district will maintain a four-month fund balance in the “worst-case scenario.”
Payroll costs ultimately amount to about 90% of CFISD's budget, which includes a $88.5 million shortfall. Superintendent Mark Henry assured board members the district is expecting to receive federal stimulus funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund that could help offset the projected deficit.
Smith said the district is eligible to receive as much as $189.2 million from the third round of ESSER funding, and another $84.3 million from the ESSER II grant.
“I’m going to be the optimist and say that when it’s all said and done, our fund balance is going to be just fine. It may go down a little bit, but it’s not going to go down to four months,” Henry said during the June 24 meeting.
District officials expect to receive $997.8 million in revenue in the upcoming fiscal year, about 56.5% of which would come from local property taxes and 41.5% would come from the state. About 2% is expected to come from federal sources. Smith said she expects the property tax rate will decrease for the third consecutive year from $1.3555 to $1.3356 per $100 valuation. The final tax rate is set to be adopted in September.