For the fourth year in a row, Keller school board members approved a deficit budget, this time going $9 million in the red.
“We are going to use fund balance to meet our budget,” Board President Craig Allen said. “Because of work done in the past to keep that healthy, we’re fortunate we can continue to provide an excellent education without cutting back.”
The district’s fund balance, or savings, is currently at $74 million. After pulling out about $6 million for the 2014-15 year, the fund will have around $68 million. The Texas Education Agency recommends that districts keep 20 percent of operating expenses in savings. For Keller’s $257.8 million spending plan, that would be about $51.5 million.
The last time trustees approved a balanced budget was in 2011, shortly after a failed election to raise KISD taxes, when fears over state cuts to education fueled massive reductions.
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The budget vote at an Aug. 28 special meeting was 5-1, with Trustee Brad Schofield opposing the plan. JoLynn Haussmann was absent.
Schofield said he wanted KISD officials to look ahead to next year and be more careful in using excess savings, since relief from the Texas Legislature is unlikely until 2017.
Superintendent Randy Reid said that because of intentionally conservative estimates on revenue, the district is unlikely to use the entire deficit, noting that in each of the past years the actual shortfall has been less than the amount approved.
But he noted that the deficit spending can’t continue.
“If we don’t have some change in funding, districts all across the state are going to be in trouble,” Reid said.
For the fifth consecutive year, the tax rate remains unchanged at $1.54.
Deficit spending in Keller ISD
- 2012-13: amount approved - $12.1 million; actual amount - $4.7 million
- 2013-14: amount approved - $11.3 million; actual amount - $1.9 million
- 2014-15: amount approved - $9.3 million; estimated amount - $6 million to $7 million*
*actual amount not available until after accounts are settled around Oct. 1