Klein ISD officials are moving forward with 2% on-average raises for all staff members despite trustees approving a budget for fiscal year 2024-25 containing a roughly $36 million shortfall.

The overview

Trustees unanimously approved the budget during the board’s June 10 meeting. According to budget documents, the district is projecting roughly $698 million in expenditures during FY 2024-25 and approximately $662 million in revenue.

Budget documents show the FY 2024-25 budget used a proposed tax rate of $1.0135 per $100 valuation, down roughly 1.8% from last year’s rate of $1.0316 per $100 valuation.

With the 2% raise, officials noted starting teachers’ salaries will rise from $60,000 in FY 2023-24 to $61,075 in FY 2024-25.

While KISD officials were able to draw roughly $33.8 million from the district’s fund balance to cover next year's operating expenses, trustees said the district will need more money from the state to avoid the risk of posting additional budget deficits in the future.

A closer look

During a May 13 budget workshop, KISD Chief Financial Officer Dan Schaefer pointed to several factors contributing to the budget shortfall, including a roughly $4.8 million reduction in federal funding and a significant decrease in property tax revenue compared to last year.

While projections provided by the Harris Central Appraisal District show property values within KISD’s boundaries rising by roughly 1.47% compared to last year, officials are expecting a roughly $71.3 million decrease in property tax revenue in FY 2024-25.

Budget documents show the district is projecting to take in around $181.8 million in property tax revenue in FY 2024-25, down more than 28% from the roughly $253.1 million the district collected in FY 2023-24. However, officials noted the district is still slated to receive roughly $69.4 million more in state funding compared to FY 2023-24.
Officials pointed to several cost-saving measures that are projected to save the district roughly $2.35 million in expenditures next year, including:
  • Modifications to the district's property and casualty insurance
  • Modifications to the district’s trash pickup schedule
  • A reduction to the district’s budget for moving temporary buildings
Additionally, officials said the district will save roughly $6 million in annual expenses beginning next year due to districtwide rezoning efforts approved earlier this year.

What they’re saying

Several board members voiced concerns over the state Legislature's failure to approve additional funding for public schools in 2023 despite going into that year's session with a roughly $32.7 billion budget surplus.

“So many districts around our state are having to adopt deficit budgets, and there really is no excuse for it,” KISD trustee Chris Todd said during the June 10 meeting. “Folks ... need to call their legislators and tell them that some of that money that's in surplus really needs to go to the kids.”

Trustee Rob Ellis echoed Todd’s sentiment, noting recent inflation has further exacerbated the issue.

“We just don't understand how you can be getting paid the same amount [of state funding] per student since 2019 with no inflation adjustment,” Ellis said. “In a situation where there's a multibillion-dollar surplus at the state level, it’s just completely impossible to understand.”

What’s next

In a June 11 news release, district officials reiterated trustees' call to action.

“The next legislative session begins in [January] 2025, and we urge you to find out now who represents you, contact your state representatives, and ask them to invest public dollars into public schools by increasing the state-determined basic student allotment,” officials said in the news release.

Based on estimates provided by the Texas Comptroller’s Office in October, lawmakers are projected to have approximately $21.3 billion in available revenue at the outset of the 89th Legislature, which begins Jan. 14.