The Pearland ISD board of trustees passed a general fund budget of nearly $183 million for the 2019-20 school year at its regular board meeting June 11. The district is expecting a $5.8 million shortfall. With the shortfall, the district will be looking at a 97-day fund reserve over the recommended 90 days.
“This puts me in a really tough place as a fiscal conservative. You don’t want to over budget and give raises in a place where you are going into [shortfall] … when you can’t maintain it in the long-term, and the whole purpose that we serve here is maintaining the best teacher pool that we have,” trustee Crystal Carbone said. “When it comes right down to it, I have to choose the teachers and the students that continue to grow and to be the people we want them to be.”
The board voted to approve a 3.25% salary increase for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses with six or more years of experience; a 3% salary increase for those with five years or less of experience; and a 2.5% increase for all other employees.
The budget increased beginning teacher salaries from $54,500 to $56,000. The board also voted to include the addition of a data specialist in the budget.
The majority of budget revenue is funded through the state this year. However, the district is looking at less money from the state next year for the 2020-21 budget, Superintendent John Kelly said.
“Big picture wise, I think we’re fine with recommending what we are this year. But next year—the second year in the biennium—we will get very, very little additional help from the state, and so I think we would be seriously considering a … tax ratification election,” Kelly said.