With the passage of the budget for the 2014-15 school year, the Spring ISD board of trustees emphasized public safety and employee pay raises, providing additional staff to the police department and raising the average teacher's salary by 6 percent.
The board of trustees unanimously approved the adoption of a $361.4 million budget at a Spring ISD board meeting June 10. The budget allowed for an increase in the starting salary of a teacher with no prior experience from $45,537 to $48,500.
"There were things in this budget that we couldn't do, but I'm particularly proud that there are a lot of things we were able to do with this budget that we couldn't do before," Vice President Mel Smith said. "We can pay our teachers more, and there were years when we couldn't give raises."
However, employees across the district received pay increases as a 5 percent increase was provided for non-teaching staff, including a 3 percent raise for the cost of living and a 2 percent raise to offset rising insurance costs.
"We tried hard to balance this ever-increasing insurance cost versus pay," Smith said. "We know what our neighboring districts are doing, and we tried to balance that."
The budget provides for more staffing for the police department as well. The $3.99 million allocated for police within the general fund is a 6.2 percent increase from the $3.76 million allocated for police in the most recently updated version of the 2013-14 budget.
The board said the murder of Joshua Broussard Sept. 4 of last year at Spring High School was a significant factor in increasing police staffing.
"Sept. 4 hit us and we were [struck] with tragedy," Board Member Ron Crier said. "That played a big role for us in increasing safety and security."
A 10 percent increase over the 2013-14 budget, it is estimated the budget will require a property tax rate of $1.54 per $100 valuation or a 3-cent decrease from the current tax rate The board approved the proposed tax rate in May.
Board action on the tax rate will be taken in September after receiving tax rolls from the Harris County Appraisal District.
"I really want to emphasize that the budget is a result of data driven decisions with a focus on academic achievement and safety," Board President Rhonda Faust said. "I'm very pleased with the final [result]."
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