Klein ISD adopts 2018-19 budget with $449 million general fund

Since voters rejected a measure June 16 to raise the district tax rate by 9 cents, the Klein ISD board of trustees has been looking at ways to add over $30 million to its fund balance for the 2018-19 year. On Aug. 27, the board adopted a $449 million proposed general fund budget for fiscal year 2018-19 after securing additional state funding and making targeted cuts such as reducing benefits and compensations.

“We were able to successfully balance the budget without the need for layoffs, which was something the district was focusing on throughout the process,” KISD Chief Financial Officer Dan Schaefer said.

State funding to the district is expected to temporarily increase by $15.1 million in 2018-19, according to KISD officials. The majority of these funds—$10.2 million—will come from a tax rate swap, which increases the maintenance and operations portion of the district tax rate from $1.04 to $1.06 per $100 valuation, and decreases the debt service portion from 39 cents to 37 cents per $100 valuation. This exchange was possible for districts affected by a natural disaster in 2017-18, as KISD was during Hurricane Harvey.

Other additional sources of state revenue include $6.7 million due to an increased number of students on a free and reduced lunch program after Hurricane Harvey as well as $5.6 million for other student growth, according to an executive summary of the budget. The total state funding, however, is offset by a $10.1 million decrease in state aid due to 2017 property value growth and other factors.

Klein ISD is also adding a net gain of 5.5 positions totaling $413,022 through eliminating recently vacated positions or restructuring staff to fill vacancies, Schaefer said. Some staff changes included adding 59.5 positions at Hofius Intermediate and 48 positions for an additional grade level at Klein Cain. The district will also reduce 45 positions from maintenance, transportation and plant operations.

Changes to benefits and compensation included reducing health insurance contributions, which saves the district $2.1 million, and eliminating permanent substitutes, valued at $3.5 million.

Additional budget cuts and adjustments will likely be needed next year to account for changes in revenues and other unforeseen events, Schaeffer said.

“This is the first year of two years of reductions,” he explained. “For instance, we can only do the tax rate swap for one year, so we will review the budget for further reductions next year.”

By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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