The Magnolia ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a $121.6 million budget for fiscal year 2021-22 at its meeting Aug. 23. The board also approved a property tax rate of $1.1872 per $100 valuation, a $0.0872 decrease from the ongoing fiscal year.

“We’re excited to have a balanced budget pass that has the largest one-time decrease in the tax rate that goes back decades,” Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said in an interview Aug. 24.

The decrease in the tax rate will result in homeowners paying less in taxes, even as average taxable value has increased in the district, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

The budget—a $1.5 million increase from the fiscal year 2020-21 budget—includes a 2% raise for all employees and two one-time $1,000 bonuses. The budget also includes funding for 38 additional positions in the district, being paid for by Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief funds, Morris said.

“I think that obviously we’ve been aggressive as it relates to the retention bonuses and the bottom line,” Morris said at a budget workshop Aug. 2.

Of the $121.6 million budget, 85% is allocated for payroll and salary, Morris said. The 2% raise will cost the district $1.8 million, with $800,000 funded by ESSER funds, according to a budget presentation. Morris said the two one-time bonuses are also being funded through ESSER funds.

Morris said the additional employees help the district stay consistent in its student-to-staff ratio. This year, there are 7.7 students for each staff member, while 10 years ago it was 7.3, according to Morris.

“We feel like we’re doing everything we can to take care of the district’s needs, our greatest assets, our buildings and facilities, and keeping the main thing the main thing: keeping the dollars in the classroom and taking care of our students and teachers,” Morris said in an interview.