In a budget hearing with single-digit attendance Monday night, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees passed the budget and adopted a tax rate for the 2017/18 school year. The budget was passed with just three days before the current fiscal year ends on Aug 31.
No member of the public chose to speak at the hearing, which was quickly closed.
The combined tax rate for LISD in the coming year is $1.4075 per $100 in property valuation. It represents a $0.0125 decrease from last year’s rate, but due to increased property values, it is an effective increase in taxes paid for most property owners.
The school district’s tax rate is composed of two parts. The maintenance and operations rate is fixed at $1.04 per $100, and the district has no meaningful discretion to change it under current state funding formulas. The interest and sinking fund tax rate is $0.3675 per $100, and is used to pay local bonded indebtedness.
The general fund budget for district operations in 2017/18 is $466.1 million, up $5.7 million from the prior year’s budget.
It includes a 3 percent salary increase for all LISD employees based on the midpoint of each job classification.
Although property tax revenue will increase, the state funding for LISD is projected to be $26.2 million less than last year, with the state offsetting local property tax revenue increases through reductions in the state’s share.
As is typical, the district budgets more in expenditures than it proposes to take in. The $9.6 million deficit is projected to come from the district’s fund balance. That amount is in line with prior years, but typically cost savings are found throughout the year that result in reducing or eliminating the deficit.
“The budget needs to be worse than the actual in order for us to not have a compliance violation on expenditures,” said district CFO Michael Ball.
Both the budget and tax rate remain unchanged from what was presented in the board workshop Aug.3.
Superintendent Kevin Rogers presented the board with his plans for a Community Bond Committee.
The committee consists of 20 original members of the Facilities Advisory Committee that approved the district’s recommendations on the projects to include in the bond package.
The 2008 bond package for LISD had a Bond Oversight Committee, but Rogers took it in a different direction for the 2017 bonds.
“Really, our intention is to demonstrate that we’re maintaining fidelity with what we’ve talked about and what the FAC discussed with the promises that these 20 folks are [and] will continue to be voices in the community — positive voices in the community about the progress on our bond package,” Rogers said.
Trustee Tracy Miller said he felt that the committee was a good compromise and that although the committee would have less of a role in accountability, the board would take that role.
The administration is not looking for feedback from the committee either. In response to a question from Trustee Jenny Proznik, Rogers explained the role as advocacy in the community.
“So you know we’re not gonna ask them, ‘Hey do you approve of this design or do you approve of whether we have this type of restroom or not?’ That’s not what this committee’s about,” Rogers said. “This is just for us to close the communications loop with members of the original committee to show that we’re keeping our word in working on the projects that they recommended to the board.”
The committee meets Sept. 12. Rogers said one of the first topics will be to talk about the sale of the $202 million in bonds sold earlier this summer.
The fiscal year begins Sept. 1. The school board meets next at 7 p.m., Sept. 11 at the Bolin Center, 1565 W. Main St.