New positions and employee raises are included in a $88.9 million Carroll Independent School District budget proposed for the 2014-15 fiscal year, up $8 million over last year’s.
Staff members are preparing to propose the final budget at a public hearing Aug. 18. The district’s fiscal year runs Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.
Based on preliminary numbers, Carroll plans to spend $37.8 million on instructional costs, for seven new positions added to handle expected growth.
The district enrolled 7,812 students last year and projects 7,893 for the upcoming school year. Seventy new students in the coming year are expected to come from open enrollment and the remainder are figured in as normal growth. For the second year, Carroll is accepting students who live in Southlake but are in different school districts. The additional 70 students should result in about $60,000 more in state revenue.
The board of trustees voted to give staff a 3 percent salary raise on Aug. 4, adding $1.5 million to the fiscal year’s budget.
Last fiscal year, trustees approved a 3 percent salary increase. The year before, trustees approved a 1 percent increase with a one-time stipend. Staff members project that a 1 percent raise across the board would increase expenditures by $500,000.
This year, Carroll will pay $13.7 million to the state in Robin Hood money — the funding that is redistributed to poorer districts — a $2.1 million increase from last year. Welch said the district will pay more because of an increase in property values.
The district is also paying for its own food services this year as opposed to being part of a national program, which adds $2.79 million to the budget. The rest of the increase is added from smaller additions to staff development, student transportation and general administration. The district likely will start the year with a $2.9 million deficit — more budgeted for spending than for revenue coming in. Carroll had a $989,565 deficit last fiscal year.
Robb Welch, assistant superintendent of Financial Services, said the deficit is manageable, adding that the state owes the district $2.5 million.
“Depending on when some of the earned revenues actually hit, it’s more than likely we’ll be able to negate that deficit,” he said.
Welch said efforts to reduce maintenance and operating costs save the district roughly $700,000 annually. The strategies include more efficient HVAC systems in schools and a new energy management system that controls heating and cooling schedules.
Read Ballew, board of trustees president, raised the possibility of selling energy to make money, stressing the need for creative thinking.
“We’re going to have to continue to look for alternative financial opportunities that reduce costs significantly or add some sort of revenue,” he said. “Our creative opportunities have not ended they have only begun.”