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Preliminary school budget balanced, shows increase in enrollment, teacher pay

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
June 17, 2010 at 1:17 a.m.


IF YOU GO

Dates for school board budget workshops:

July 15

Aug. 19

The final 2010-2011 tax rate and budget will be adopted Aug. 26.

Victoria school district teachers could get a 2 percent pay increase, according to preliminary school district budget figures discussed Thursday.

Also discussed during the budget workshop were plans to add students and a slightly lower tax rate.

"The board and staff have worked diligently to be in a position to move forward in all areas," said Superintendent Bob Moore. "Many districts across Texas and in the nation are struggling due to the economy. VISD is in a strong position to meet the next items ahead."

The 2010-2011 budget shows preliminary revenues of $98.3 million, up $4.6 million from the current budget.

A final budget will not be adopted until Aug. 26 after property values and student enrollments are solidified. The 2010-2011 fiscal year begins Sept. 1.

The preliminary figures plan for an additional 400 students and possibly a 2 percent raise in teacher pay. The increase will amount to about a $1,000 in teacher salaries depending upon experience, said Frances Koch, executive director of budget and finance.

Jessica Macias, a newly-hired third grade teacher who attended the meeting, was excited to hear the possibility of raises.

"It's incredible," she said "It offers more opportunities for the city to draw experienced teachers and compete with the big dogs from bigger cities like Houston, Austin and San Antonio."

The tax rate will actually decrease by less than a cent, keeping taxes for maintenance and operation lower than the state average, Moore said.

The 2009-2010 tax rate is $1.32 - 1.03 for maintenance and operations and .29 cents for debt service.

The district also received an additional $1 million from the state for building the new high schools.

Board members complimented each other for keeping the budget in balance with the new improvements.

"I really appreciate Mr. Moore's hard work and everyone's hard work in making sure we are well able to care for the students of this district," said said President Tami Keeling.

Keeling said she personally knew of other school districts who've had to make drastic cutbacks to their programs to continue operating.

"We are one of the very few districts in the state of Texas that have approached this evening without fear and trembling," she said. "That's not without a great deal of hard work, and I realize that we don't have everything we want, but we have more than we need."

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