FISD tax rate likely to jump 2 to 4 cents
By Ann Marie Shambaugh, Staff Writer
Frisco ISD took another step toward approval of a 4 cent property tax increase for the 2008-2009 fiscal year at its regular meeting Monday night. The $252,421,650 budget is based on a tax rate of $1.39 per $100 of value.
The proposed budget is about 16 percent bigger than last years and includes more than $18 million to hire new personnel to accommodate the district’s growth. FISD will open four new schools next year and the Career and Technical Education center.
The board has received preliminary updates on the proposed budget for the last few months at its regular meetings and the proposed 4 cent increase has not changed.
“We’re getting less and less preliminary as we go through this process,” acting Business Manager Rick Bankston said.
Superintendent Rick Reedy said that the district may be able to limit a tax increase to 2 cents next year, depending on the total appraised property value in the district. School officials do not know how much property values will increase from last year, but they hope to know by the end of the month.
The budget proposes $1 for maintenance and operations and 39 cents for debt reduction. Reedy hopes to reduce that amount to 37 cents.
Total proposed expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year total $247,162,716, which would allow the district to expand the fund balance by more than 2 percent if revenue and expenditure estimates are accurate.
Final budget approval is scheduled to take place in June.
The board approved several funding increases that will affect next year’s budget, including a starting pay raise for teachers and nurses. Teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience will make $44,500, but may earn more with an advanced degree. Teachers with 30 or more years of experience will make $55,500 as new FISD employees.
“These are competitive salaries and that’s what we aspire to have,” Reedy said.
The approval also included a 4 percent of midpoint salary increase for all returning employees.
The board also approved a $10 increase per employee per month contribution by FISD into the health insurance program, and $100,000 to implement an employee wellness program. The program will allow employees who go to the Frisco Athletic Center at least 10 times per month to be reimbursed by the school district for membership costs.
District officials said they hope the wellness plan will reduce healthcare costs and increase productivity in the classroom.
In other action, the board:
*Heard an update from the Frisco Fire Department on a hazard crisis database system project between the City of Frisco and FISD;
*Approved revisions to the district mission and belief system;
*Approved SHW Architects to design an administration building that may coordinate with the CTE and future magnet school; and,
*Honored students who qualified for state competitions with a reception before the meeting.