Fort Bend ISD adopted an ad valorem tax rate of $1.2101 per $100 for fiscal year 2021-22 during a board meeting Sept. 20. The school district also approved revenue adjustments to the FY 2021-22 budget based on the receipt of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds.
The changes to the budget came because the budget was approved prior to the receipt of the ESSER funds, according to FBISD Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn. The school district lost $34.3 million from its revenue budget due to the receipt of ESSER funds, and lost an additional $13.5 million due to fast growth allotment and insurance proceeds. It lost a net total of $19.6 million from its expenditure budget due to ESSER funds.
There is no negative affect from the budget amendment, according to Guinn. Guinn said the revenue reductions were offset by ESSER or by the receipt of revenues in the prior year. The total fund balance changed from $224.1 million to $195.9 million.
The district did report an additional potential loss of $17.9 million in revenue due to reductions in enrollment, bringing the total down from $195.9 million to $178 million. To offset costs, the district has already delayed all nonessential spending or equipment replacement purchases, and has stopped out-of-state staff development, according to Guinn. The district is in the process of other budget strategies, including reviewing all staffing levels, staff development activities and capital expenditures, and freezing all new hire and vacant positions except those deemed to be a necessity to the instructional process or the safety of students.
Guinn said a significant number of those vacant positions are at the administrative level, outside of campuses.
“There are roughly 220 or so vacancies in administration. That represents a significant number when you consider that the average salary is about $64,000, so we’re looking at roughly $12 million,” Guinn said. “We feel like with the expenditure adjustments and looking at staffing, we should be able to control that number.”
The changes to the budget were approved with the stipulation that the budget would be further amended by moving necessary funding from the major maintenance fund as necessary to eliminate any shortfall in the 90-day fund balance, due to a policy that the district must have a 90-day fund balance. The amended budget has an 88-day fund balance, and with enrollment shortages, there is an estimated 79-day balance.