New Braunfels ISD is wrapping up its budget process, which if approved would keep its tax rates the same as last year.
The board is set to approve its 2021-2022 general fund, debt service and food service budgets during a regular board meeting on June 21.
The tax rate will remain the same, but the district would receive more tax revenue compared to last because of increased property values.
Last year’s rate and this year’s proposed rate is 1.2233 per $100 of taxable value.
The rate for the maintenance and operations — which supports the general fund budget and covers various expenses such as tools, equipment, transportation and salaries — would be .8975.
The Interest and Sinking rate — which is applied to cover debt service for construction bonds approved by taxpayers — would be .3258
The 2020-2021 year started with $57,467,180 in revenue. With additional $4,065,977 in tax revenue, the 2021-2022 proposed budget revenue from property taxes alone is estimated to be about $61,533,157.
Factoring in state revenue, other local sources, federal sources and other streams, the total proposed general fund budget would be $82,786,285 compared to last year’s $81,159,670.
The total value of all property in the district rose from $8,069,095,219 to $9,192,784,066, according to NBISD data.
The taxable value of property climbed from $6,851,846,014 to $7,816,217,681.
The district estimates the average taxpayer would see around a $266 increased tax bill driven by rising values.
Art, Band and Athletics
The district’s proposed budget includes increased spending for programs such as art, band and athletics based on surveys from these areas.
One new program includes boys and girls middle school soccer, with stipends totaling $21,000 or $10,500 for each campus. The total cost for middle school soccer, including expenses like transportation, supplies and officials, totals $43,800.
About $90,075 will go toward music general various expenses. New Braunfels Middle School and Oak Run Middle School will have a general increase of $5,000 for band. Oak Run Middle school will also get $4,450 for a new piano.
New Braunfels High School will get $15,700 for percussion items.
Athletics will get a $130,475 increase for various items and $45,000 for uniforms.
The New Braunfels High School will receive $5,000 for the Theater Cyclorama, and $2,000 for choir uniforms.
“We’ve got some big wins, with art, soccer and it looks like some much needed positions from when we discussed at our last workshop,” board president Wes Clark said. “These are huge wins.”
When it comes to state funding, the district is starting at the current budgeted amount of $21,121,707 from the state.
Because of the property tax increase, the state gives less money as the property owners pay more in taxes. This means state funding will drop to $16,261,345.
The state spends about $8,909 per student statewide, while locally NBISD spends $7,340 per student.
“As local values grow, the state share decreases,” NBISD finance and operations assistant superintendent Clint McLain said. “Not only does the state share decrease but it also over time becomes a smaller percentage.”
“Federal and state and local spending is the same whereas our local spending per kid greatly exceeds how much the state government gives us to be able to spend on each of our students.”
When it comes to revenue per student, since districts get its funding based on average daily attendance, the average revenue per student in the state is at $9,780.
The district revenue-wise gets less than $8500, a difference of about $1,300 per student compared to the average student in the state, costing the district almost $12 million.
“Considering that differential, we’ve been pretty good for our kids,” McLain said.
In 2019, the state legislature passed House Bill 3 implementing sweeping reform to school finance.
Advocates for the bill said taxpayers were shouldering the burden of funding local schools rather than the state.
This legislative session, the legislature released $5.5 billion in federal pandemic relief money to Texas school districts.
This money will go to the district in the form of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds — also called ESSER. It is for enrollment declines because the pandemic.
Lawmakers announced, however, that the amount districts receive will be based on the previous year’s enrollment when about 3% of students were missing across the state.
Schools may receive federal aid on top of expected state aid, while others may get none.
McLain said the district has one year left to spend its first installment of ESSER funds.
Then it will have two years for ESSER II funds and then three for the ESSER III installment.
After a long budget process, McLain said he is happy where the district is at with its funding.
“The fact we are funding athletics and band and a lot of the areas people requested without even having to blink an eye at it taking care of all these activities,” McLain said. “We’re equalizing funding for everybody.”