FBISD: Tax rate, bond under review ahead of November election

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to indicate that Clements High School, not Dulles High School, would be rebuilt using 2022 bond funds.

Fort Bend ISD is considering a tax rate election to address its financial problems while evaluating the need for a district capital requirement bond. According to district documents. Voters will then have to approve each initiative in November before either takes effect.

According to a July 25 presentation from district officials, the FBISD is considering a Vatre after the board of directors unanimously approved the district’s $768 million budget for the year 2022-23 at its meeting on Tuesday. June 20. This budget included a 2% to 3% salary increase for teachers and other staff and a budget shortfall of $47 million which was made up using the district’s existing reserve and $27 million. dollars in one-time federal emergency relief funds for elementary and secondary schools.

“Many factors impact our budget,” FBISD Deputy Superintendent Steve Bassett said during the meeting. “Property value growth, inflation, low student growth. We passed a budget that had a $47 million deficit if you don’t count the use of ESSER funds.”

A major contributing factor to the current deficit was the 2021-22 budget, which had to be offset by a fund balance of $19 million and ESSER funds. During this budget cycle, teachers received a salary increase of 6% on average, while non-teaching staff received a 4% increase. Those compensation adjustments were worth $32.4 million this year alone, according to district officials.

Lower-than-expected enrollment also contributed, with $26 million of the total 2022-23 budget shortfall attributed solely to a shortage of enrollment. Enrollment projections from the demographic society Population and Survey Analysts show that in 2022, the FBISD was below projections of about 2,853 students, at 77,545 compared to a projected 80,398. These factors have contributed to the district’s need to continue to review all positions vacated through attrition, consider curtailing programs, attract charter school and home school students, and increase recurring revenue. , as by the passage of a Vatre, district officials said.

A tax rate increase of $0.11 would be the highest the district could increase its tax rate, according to the district’s July 25 financial report. This new rate, at $1.2646 per $100 of assessed value, would bring $62.6 million in additional revenue to the district. For residents with property with an average assessed value of $291,266, the new rate would increase their annual tax bill by $337, according to the financial report.

“Over the coming year, if a TVARE was done for the full $0.11, it would increase our tax rate to $1.26 and some changes,” said FBISD Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn. during a meeting. “This tax rate is actually slightly lower than our tax rate in 2020. It is important to note that although our residents would pay more due to growth in property values, the tax rate is still relatively lower than it was before.”

Meanwhile, a bond – if called by the board – can target $505 million in major construction projects, such as the reconstruction of Clements High School, Briargate Elementary School and Mission Bend Elementary School, in addition to $558.9 million to address facility deficiencies and life cycle needs. The district is also targeting $5.6 million in safety and security upgrades, $6.7 million in transportation updates, $100 million in technology updates, and $3.2 million in acquisition of properties.

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