Now that Fort Bend ISD’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget is approved, taxpayers will likely see a decrease of about $45 on their annual property tax bill.
The FBISD board of trustees approved the budget at its June 17 meeting. The overall budget includes operating revenue of $704.8 million, operating expenditures of $716.9 million, a beginning fund balance of $209.2 million and $10 million in economic stabilization. It expects an ending fund balance of $199.1 million, including a 90-reserve requirement of $176.6 million.
The district said it will spend $9,283 per student, which is a 7.8% increase over the 2018-19 school year.
Within that $716.9 million in expenditures, $578.9 million will go toward instructional costs, $120.3 million to district operations and $17.9 million to central administration, according to the June 17 presentation.
Included in that amount is $24.9 million in compensation increases for all eligible FBISD employees. The 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3, which mandated raises for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses. To comply with the bill, FBISD is allotting a 47.5% revenue increase for salaries, though only 30% was required by HB 3.
For FBISD taxpayers, this means an annual tax of $3,314.86, down $45.54 from last year’s $3,360.40. This is based on an average taxable value of residences of $261,013 annually, according to the district.
“I don’t see this as the big reform that everyone expected,” trustee Kristin Tassin said during the discussion.
Though the school district delivered a 2019-20 budget that meets requirements, FBISD Chief Financial Officer Steve Bassett said the district will need more revenue beginning in 2020-21, and he said he fully anticipates calling a tax ratification election, or TRE.
“We have enough money for this year but to move the ball forward and stay competitive in 2021, the only way I see that being done is through a TRE,” Bassett said.
In addition to passing the budget, the board authorized Superintendent Charles Dupre to consider the purchase of 20 acres of land near Elkins High School for a potential future campus.
The board also approved some $31 million in expenditures, including operations and 2018 bond program projects. The district set up a dashboard on the FBISD website for the public to track the 2018 bond program’s budget and expenditures by campus.