Now that the Texas Legislature has decided school funding and property tax formulas for the next two years, the New Braunfels and Comal independent school districts are honing budget and staffing plans for the upcoming school year.
Both are holding workshops this week. NBISD trustees meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the district’s Education Center Boardroom at 430 W. Mill Street; Comal ISD board members meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at CISD’s Support Services Center Boardroom, 1404 Interstate 35 North in New Braunfels.
The new school finance bill allots more than $11.5 billion to state public schools for 2020 and 2021. Around $5 billion will go to reduce property taxes on homes and businesses, with $6.5 billion destined for state educational reforms and increased statewide per-student funding.
Both local districts had already figured possible scenarios ahead of approvals of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 2 before the 86th legislative session ended May 27. They’ve spent the past two weeks plugging numbers into the state’s new formula. Both must approve next year’s budgets before July 1, but have until August before approving next year’s tax rates.
NBISD last year appropriated $71.4 million for general operations, $15.8 million for debt service and $3.4 million for food and nutrition programs in an overall 2018-19 budget totaling $90.6 million.
“Before the legislature adjourned, our (projected) revenues have been a moving target,” said Rebecca Villarreal, NBISD communications director. “On Monday, trustees will meet to talk about that and several other priorities leading into adopting a budget before the end of the month.”
Villarreal said the district prepared for a variety of state funding scenarios, and also the possibility of seeing reduced federal funding next year.
“We have to figure out what is happening with both,” she said on Thursday. “Also, our priorities could change because we may not have the revenue we were counting on. We’ve not yet plugged in all the numbers yet, but we have a best-guess.”
NBISD trustees on Monday will also consider naming of the district’s new administration building and additional staffers and administrators. The board will next meet Monday, June 24, when it holds a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. before taking final budget action during its 7 p.m. regular meeting in the district’s Education Center Boardroom.
Comal ISD’s 2018-19 operating budget totaled $194 million. Combined with $56.8 million for debt service and $10.6 million for child nutrition programs, its overall approved budget totaled $261.5 million. In mid-May the district projected a $200.4 million operating budget for 2019-20 – before legislators finished their work in Austin.
“We’ve already projected our expenditures, but were waiting for more to project our revenues,” said Steve Stanford, Comal ISD communications director.
Stanford said trustees will discuss the budget, and possibly take action on proposed compensation and staffing on Thursday following updates by David Andersen, chief financial officer, and Marie Kuehler, executive director of human resources.
Comal ISD trustees will next meet June 27, when they hold a public hearing before approving the budget at 6 p.m. in the district’s Support Services Center Boardroom.