ARLINGTON — School trustees heard good news at Tuesday night’s board meeting: The Arlington school district’s proposed 2013-14 budget shows a healthy surplus.Although the projected $585.9 million budget presented for trustees’ consideration does not yet include employee raises or expenses relating to adoption of some Financial Futures Committee recommendations, it does include $1.4 million for 30 new staff positions.Revenues are up by $24.8 million, boosted by $3.4 million in preliminary TAD property values and $21.5 million in additional state funding recently approved by the Legislature, administrators said.The district’s fund balance (savings) is expected to increase by $40 million from the preliminary budget.The unassigned fund balance projection is $173.5 million, way up from the 2012-13 projected budget of $120.8 million.The 2013-14 budget must be adopted by the district by June 30, and the tax rate will be set in August when TAD property values are certified after homeowners’ appeals are considered. The tax rate is expected to remain the same at $1.30, including $1.04 for maintenance and operations and 26 cents for debt service.The new positions would include two nurses, three academic deans, a director of curriculum and instruction, and a safety and security specialist. Six additional security guards would also be included, plus six bus drivers to implement the new Early College High School program on the Tarrant County College Southeast campus.Trustees wanted to know more about the new positions.“What exactly is a ‘safety and security specialist’?” Trustee Aaron Reich asked about the proposal to add six new security guards.A specialist is a training position to prepare guards for their jobs and give tips and pointers to campus administrators regarding safety practices.One Financial Futures Committee recommendation was approved by vote on Tuesday, so that 36 new junior high teachers could be hired to include intervention periods during the school day to provide extra support for junior high students. Cost for the new positions is $1.9 million.The Financial Futures Committee is an advisory group of stakeholders including teachers, parents and community members who offer recommendations to the board on expenditures and savings strategies.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657 Twitter: @shirljinkins