CISD board reveals preliminary FY 2017-18 budget, awaits special session results

CISD board reveals preliminary FY 2017-18 budget, awaits special session resultsAs Conroe ISD officials await results of education items listed by Gov. Greg Abbott in the state’s special legislative session, scheduled to begin July 18, a preliminary fiscal year 2017-18 budget was announced by the district during a June 20 board meeting.

The district’s estimated expenditures total $473.3 million, and approximate revenue sources total $473.7 million. This leaves a projected surplus of $398,067 to be kept in the general fund balance to support the FY 2018-19 budget, CISD Chief Financial Officer Darrin Rice said.

“I think we’re very well prepared,” Rice said. “Our board’s done a great job over the year of preparing us for any curveballs that might come our way.”

Of the 20 items listed on the special legislative session agenda, six items relate to education funding, Rice said.

These items include teacher pay increases of $1,000; administrative flexibility in teacher hiring, firing and retention practices; a school finance reform commission; school choice for special needs students; property tax reform; and caps on state and local spending.

“The school finance reform commission—that’s actually a commission that’s going to look at the overall state funding program and revamp it and make it more modern to fit school district needs now,” Rice said. “So we don’t know what that brings.”

District officials also factored in a 2 percent raise for all teachers and approved a starting salary of $52,500 for newly hired teachers—an increase from $51,500 the previous year.CISD board reveals preliminary FY 2017-18 budget, awaits special session results

In total, 89.2 percent—or $422.1 million—of the proposed budget will be allotted for payroll and expenses, Rice said. Additionally, the district presented a proposed tax rate of $1.28 per $100 of valuation, which is the same tax rate for FY 2016-17.

“We were hoping to see the Legislature approach the school funding formula,” Rice said. “They had House Bill 21 out there—we were not proponents of House Bill 21—but there were some aspects of that bill we did like.”

HB 21, which aimed to increase public education funding by $1.65 billion, will not move forward and was not listed as a special session item, CISD Superintendent Don Stockton said.

“It wasn’t a great year for public education,” Stockton said. “I don’t know what the special session will bring, but we’re doing OK in Conroe [ISD].”

By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.