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With increased property values, VISD expects to give pay raises

By KBell
July 19, 2012 at 2:19 a.m.


CHANGES TO BULLYING PROCEDURE

• The school board approved changes to the student code of conduct.

• While most were minor wording alterations, one change stood out as a long-needed leeway when it comes to dealing with bullies.

• Previously, school districts could only transfer a student who was being bullied. Thanks to new legislation, districts will be able to transfer a student who is doing the bullying.

• The district would still need documentation of bullying and would consider classroom space and where a student lives when determining whether to transfer him or her.

• VISD employees and students will undergo bully training at the beginning of the school year.

Thanks to an increase in property values, the Victoria school district is looking to give employees a pay raise next school year.

At his first board meeting as superintendent, Robert Jaklich proposed a $100,183,703 budget that gives teachers a $1,050 to $1,300 raise, depending on their education and experience. Administrators would receive a $1,200 raise, and paraprofessionals would get 47 cents more per hour.

Last year's budget was $95.3 million after about $8 million worth of cuts from the state. The district did not give raises.

This year's raises would be funded by a nearly $5 million increase in property taxes. The proposed budget calls for the same tax rate VISD has had the past two years, which is $1.3226 per $100 of property value. A person with a $100,000 home would pay $1,322 in taxes to VISD.

Budget savings will also come from implementing a four-day workweek during the summer. Year-round employees would work Monday through Thursday throughout June, saving the district about $55,000. Moving to an Internet phone system is also expected to save the district $45,000.

VISD is anticipating another 150 students to be counted toward its average daily attendance, which is the number the state uses to allocate funds. Jaklich said he hopes to increase attendance from its current 94 percent.

"If we go up one percentage point, that will give us $700,000 more in revenue. Our goal is not to focus on the dollars, but the children. And when the children come, then we will be able to receive the additional dollars as well," he said.

The budget factors in a conservative attendance estimate, which will add another $265,000 to the district's bottom line.

VISD's fund balance is about $15 million, which would cover two months of operating expenses, as recommended by the Texas Education Agency.

After taking into account the salary increase and a plan that would create a wireless network across the district, the proposed budget has about $1.5 million left to work with.

Jaklich said that money will be used to meet the needs of campuses that need it most.

"We're doing what we can to stretch the budget as far as we can," Board Member Lou Svetlik said. "We're in a very good position to have the increase in the local tax base, and from what I can tell, we're using it very purposefully."

The budget is expected to be approved in August.

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