Teachers in the Marble Falls Independent School District could get a 2 percent general pay raise in its 2021-22 budget, Executive Director of Finance Melissa Lafferty told board members at a meeting June 14. The board will adopt a budget for the upcoming school year on June 28.
The board approved a proposed 2021-22 fiscal year budget at the June 14 meeting, which anticipates the district collecting $61.1 million in total revenue.
Budgets needing approval from the board include the general fund, school nutrition, and debt services.
School districts receive funding from several different revenue streams. Average daily attendance (ADA) and property taxes are the most significant budget contributors. Federal grants, which include coronavirus relief funds such as the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER), also play a role in district funding.
The district anticipates adopting a $1.1022 per $100 valuation tax rate for the upcoming year, which includes a $0.8869 maintenance and operations tax rate and a $0.2153 interest and sinking tax. The current tax rate is $1.185 per $100 valuation.
The proposed, slightly lower rate could change. Since last year, the preliminary local and state property tax values have increased by over 10 percent each, Lafferty said. This can negatively impact districts that appear property wealthy because of a statewide policy known as recapture that redistributes money from wealthier districts to poorer ones. MFISD returns over $6 million of excess property tax funds to the state each year.
Certified tax values will not be available until July 27. Lafferty anticipates the district will post its finalized tax rate in August.
The district received $6.2 million in ESSER III funds to be spread over the next three school years. Two-thirds of that will be received for immediate use.
During an April 17 meeting, Lafferty estimated a deficit of $810,000 in the 2020-21 school year. However, to balance the budget, the deficit will be paid through ESSER III funding. Some salaries also will be paid for through ESSER III funding.
“The whole time we’re consuming these ESSER funds, we’re having to also recognize the fact that this is for three years,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen said. “In between now and year three, our local burden is going to have to get back under the weight of this.”