The budget reduction was achieved without the need for staff layoffs, KISD Chief Financial Officer Dan Schaefer said.
After voters rejected a measure June 16 to raise the district tax rate by 9 cents, the board needed to add $30.2 million to its fund balance before voting to adopt its budget Aug. 27, KISD Superintendent Bret Champion said. KISD policy requires a fund balance that is at least 25 percent of annual expenditures. The board on July 30 proposed cutting $29.6 million from the budget and generating $11.9 million from new revenue sources.
Planned budget cuts include trimming $11.6 million from campus expenditures, $9.1 million from benefits and compensations and $7.2 million from noncampus expenses. Another $1.7 million will be cut from various places, including delaying the opening of Elementary School No. 33 until funds are available, Schaefer said. The school was slated to open August 2019.
The proposed budget would also increase the student-to-teacher ratio by cutting 112.5 jobs districtwide. However, reduction of positions was achieved through eliminating recently vacated positions or restructuring staff to fill vacancies, rather than laying off employees, he said. A net increase of 5.5 personnel for the 2018-19 school year is expected, he said.
“One of our goals was to achieve budget reductions without layoffs,” Schaeffer said. “Given the tight timeline to make these reductions, we are very pleased to have met this goal.”
Along with the budget cuts, the district aims to generate $11.9 million in new revenue, mainly through a state tax code provision that allows districts to move 2 cents from the debt portion of the tax rate to the maintenance and operations side in the year following a natural disaster—in this case, Hurricane Harvey, Schaefer said.
The new revenue also includes an additional $1.1 million acquired because student information used for state funding estimates has been updated, and the district has improved its investment earnings based on rising interest rates, Schaefer said.
At the July 9 meeting, the board also approved adopting an ordinance to set the 2018-19 tax rate at $1.43 per $100 valuation, the same rate as 2017-18. In the newly adopted tax rate, the maintenance and operations portion will increase from $1.04 to $1.06 per $100 valuation, and the debt service portion will decrease from 39 cents to 37 cents per $100 valuation.