Eanes ISD board of trustees approves budget for 2013–14 school year

Budget shortfall of roughly $4 million will replace cut positions

At its June 26 meeting, the Eanes ISD board of trustees approved the budget for the 2013–14 school year. The budget passed by a vote of 6-1, with Colleen Jones voting against it.

The approved budget, which includes an estimated $116 million in revenue and more than $120 million in expenditures, restores previously cut staff positions and provides a pay increase for teachers. The restored positions were reduced two years ago and include contingency positions to meet class size ratios for kindergarten through fourth grade and to meet the increasing needs for special education staffing.

The board also approved holding the property tax rate at $1.2125 per $100 of taxable value. EISD Superintendent Nola Wellman said in a letter that the tax rate is one of the lowest school district tax rates in the region, and the passage of the May 2011 bond referendum helps quell budget stresses.

Wellman said the bond aids in the replacing of equipment and helps institute energy-saving improvements.

"Bond funds are not recaptured by the state, which is valuable for taxpayers in that every dollar raised can be used in bond projects such as technology, safety, curriculum and projects related to the Americans with Disabilities Act," she said.

The board also approved raises for other staff positions and, in an effort to offset rising health insurance costs, agreed to increase the district's portion of health insurance coverage.

Of the more than $120 million in expenditures, about $55 million is recaptured by the state under the Robin Hood plan. The board also approved a $4.47 million transfer from the district's fund balance of more than $30 million.

"While the 83rd Legislature adopted a budget that restores $3.4 billion of the $5.4 billion cut from public education in 2011, the restoration of funding was not applied back to districts in the same percentage that it was cut," Wellman said. "For Eanes ISD, this most recent legislative action means that the district will see $1 million more revenue in the 2013–14 school year, but this is still almost $4 million less than the district would have had prior to the cuts in 2011."

Wellman said the board was very careful in how it addressed the use of resources to protect the quality of education for EISD.

"I am proud of our staff, who have worked so hard on this budget, and for our board of trustees, who whole-heartedly believe in keeping true to our commitment to excellence."