Keller district officials hosted a financial town hall Feb. 13 to give interested residents a short course on “School Finance 101.”Mark Youngs, chief financial officer, talked about how Texas public education is funded and how Keller district tax dollars are spent.Unlike cities and other government entities, schools do not get more operating revenue when tax values go up because the state sets a certain amount per student that each district will receive, Youngs said.“When values go up, we get less state dollars,” he said.Keller schools receive about $700 less per pupil than the state average. The reason for the lower funding is that the formula was created in 2005-06 when the KISD tax rate was below the state cap. Districts who were frugal in their spending were penalized with lower state revenue, Youngs said.Youngs went over the basics of the school district’s budget, highlighting major spending categories and the use of savings to make up for state funding cuts, manage cash flow and provide emergency funds.Keller’s 2013 budget deficit was planned by officials to compensate for lost state revenue and ended up being less of a hit to savings than originally planned. “This falls into the category of do not do this at home,” Youngs said.Matthew Gilpin, of Keller, said, “I just think it was a good overview. I have a better understanding of how the school district gets its money.”Keller resident Frank Roszell and wife Vandolyn Roszell attended the meeting to learn more about Keller school district finance. “We’ve been here a year and a half, and a lot of our tax money goes into schools,” Frank Roszell said. “We were interested to come see what the financial situation is.”Jason Williams, of far north Fort Worth, said, “I think the biggest thing I learned is that our district continues to do a really good job of budgeting our dollars, and we get less money than other school districts around here.”Youngs said that district officials wanted to hold the meeting for community transparency and to educate residents and encourage them to ask about anything.The meeting was recorded and should be available soon on the district’s website, kellerisd.net.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland