The Victoria school board adopted a lower overall tax rate and a budget Thursday night that would increase revenue by $5.5 million and direct about $1 million to replenish the district’s reserve balance.
The board adopted a more than $123.8 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The district will collect more than $57 million from property owners, a decrease of $6.3 million in taxes from last year because of a tax rate decrease mandated by House Bill 3, said Frances Koch, assistant superintendent for budget and finance. About $4 million will go toward teachers’ salaries.
The bill was passed by the Texas Legislature this year and provides more funding for schools, teacher compensation and reduced local property taxes.
Board president Tami Keeling said she is pleased with the balanced budget.
“You’ve implemented the board’s priorities and we’ve been able to move swiftly with confidence in approving the salaries early and that’s the lion’s share of the budget,” Keeling said.
The board adopted a tax rate of $1.1935 per $100 of assessed valuation, of which 97 cents per $100 of assessed valuation is for day-to-day operations and 22.35 cents per $100 of assessed valuation goes to pay off debt.
More than $1 million will also go toward the district’s reserve balance, which officials have said has been in decline for years. The estimated fund balance for the 2019-2020 school year is about $12.8 million, Koch said.
The reserve fund balance in 2015 was at $16.8 million and at $11.8 million last year, according to district officials.
“We’ve all heard Dr. (Quintin) Shepherd speak about the glide path (of the fund balance) ... It looks like our glide path is heading in the right direction,” Koch said. “However, there’s still work to be done. We’re not quite there yet.”