Updated: 2:55 p.m. Aug. 25

Magnolia ISD trustees voted to adopt the proposed budget Aug. 24.

During a July 20 budget workshop, Erich Morris, Magnolia ISD assistant superintendent of operations, said he recommended a $1,000 bonus—paid for from the fiscal year 2019-20 budget—be added to payroll Aug. 1 for all educators to help teachers who had out-of-pocket expenses when the district had to shift to a remote learning model in the spring.

“We are increasing the recommendation for our teachers for the immediate pay,” he said.

The MISD board of trustees later approved this one-time bonus.

The district saw operational savings at the end of FY 2019-20, as the school buildings were closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Morris said, which afforded the funds for this employee bonus.

As the district plans for the upcoming year, MISD’s proposed FY 2020-21 budget includes a 2% pay increase to all employees and a $500 retention bonus for all current employees, excluding administrators, Morris said July 20.

“We will be recommending a balanced budget in August; obviously, that is the most important thing,” Morris said. “The rest of it is basically building off current year actuals, plus the 2% raises and bonuses.”

Morris said the district will have a public hearing Aug. 20 and then adopt the budget for FY 2020-21, which begins Oct. 1.

Morris said projected general fund revenue for FY 2020-21 will be $119.35 million, up from $119.29 million in FY 2019-20.

“We are very conservative with our revenue estimates, so we have some wiggle room on the revenue side of things,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic presented the district with new costs to take up in order to adapt, Morris said in a July 23 email.

“The heaviest new financial burden lies with online instruction/learning costs, particularly in terms of those items which are critically important for our students to be able to access online instruction,” Morris said in an email.

For FY 2020-21, the proposed tax rate is $1.2725 per $100 valuation, Morris said, which is a decrease from $1.3095 per $100 valuation in FY 2019-20.

Additionally, Morris said the district anticipates 1% growth in students for the next school year, or 122 students, despite the uncertainty of attendance this fall.

MISD’s proposed budget includes state revenue for FY 2020-21 totaling $46 million, which is $2 million less than the previous year, as the district received a one-time increase of funds from House Bill 3 last year, Morris said.