Tomball ISD is expected to face a $9.1 million shortfall for the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, which would include a 2% pay raise for employees, district leaders said April 8.

The overview

When early budget talks began months ago, district leaders estimated FY 2024-25 would have a $22 million shortfall, but it has since “been brought down,” Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said April 8. The FY 2023-24 budget is expected to end with an about $5 million shortfall, Chief Financial Officer Zack Boles said.

“I'm not sure that we're going to be able to get [$9.1 million] down this cycle, but we absolutely know that we cannot continue this,” Salazar-Zamora said.

The FY 2024-25 budget is expected to be approved June 18, while trustees are scheduled to approve the district’s tax rate Sept. 10.

Who it affects

About 87% of TISD’s budget is allocated to staff salaries and benefits, Boles said. For FY 2023-24, TISD gave employees raises around 4%, but for FY 2024-25, TISD leaders recommend:
  • A general pay raise of 2% for employees as well as pay scale adjustments for employees such as custodians and paraprofessionals for an expected cost of about $4.3 million
  • A bump to the starting teacher salary from $60,500 to $61,000 annually, with adjustments according to experience, up to 40 years
Due to enrollment growth, about 94 more teachers, paraprofessionals and aides will be needed in the new school year as well as about 21 more employees to run new facilities, according to Boles’ presentation. These added employees are expected to cost TISD about $7.7 million.

“If 87% of our dollars [fund personnel costs], then we start cutting things, it's people we're cutting. ... Sadly, I just think it will come down to personnel, and we don't want that to be the case,” trustee Lee McLeod said.

How we got here

According to Boles’ presentation, TISD is facing a budget shortfall due to a variety of factors, including:
  • The cost of opening new facilities
  • Increased inflation
  • A lack of funding devoted to public education during the 88th Texas legislative session
  • Federal funds and stimulus ending