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The Marble Falls Independent School District board of trustees adopted a $59.7 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year during its June 28 meeting. The budget consists of three separate funds: general, school nutrition, and debt service.

For 2021-22, the district anticipates balanced budgets in both the general and school nutrition funds, coming to $47.9 million and $2.7 million, respectively. 

The debt services budget sits at roughly $10 million, leaving a $1.6 million surplus after expenditures. The district plans to use this surplus toward 2024 bonds. 

The adopted budget accounts for an average daily attendance of 3,900, a 2-percent general pay increase, and a $35-per-month increase toward employee health insurance benefits. 

The board approved a proposed budget during its June 14 meeting. School budgets can be amended throughout the year. 

An additional $1.7 million of Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER) III funds will supplement the budget, covering some payroll costs, said Melissa Lafferty, the district’s executive director of Finances. 

ESSER funds are COVID-19 stimulus monies provided to school districts by the federal government. Funds are released in three waves and expire in 2023. 

As a result of the federal stimulus, the Texas Education Agency reduced state funds to districts, Lafferty explained.

“For 2021, with the ESSER II, TEA is now reducing our state funding by approximately $1.2 million — that we will have to push out to a federal grant rather than a general fund,” Lafferty said. “They (TEA) are also reducing our funding, which means our recapture is going up.”

Recapture, also known as “Robin Hood,” is the state practice of requiring school districts considered “property wealthy” to send locally collected property tax revenues to the TEA for disbursement to other districts. 

MFISD officials anticipate paying $6 million in recapture for the 2021-22 budget.

In 2022, the district will use ESSER III to help fill the gap left by the decrease in state funding.

The district plans to adopt a 2021-22 ad valorem tax rate of $1.1022 per $100 property valuation. The rate breaks down to 88.69 cents for maintenance and operations and 21.53 cents for interest and sinking, also referred to as debt service. The board will vote on final tax rates in August.  

The board also approved final budget amendments for the 2020-21 budget during the meeting.