The Aledo ISD board of trustees unanimously approved the 2019-20 budget as well as a 10 cent reduction in the tax rate of $1.4933 per $100 valuation.
The past four years, the AISD tax rate has been $1.5950 per $100 valuation, but the implementation of House Bill 3 allowed for tax rate compression for school districts across the state and more funding from the state.
“We all worked together and were successful in significantly reducing our tax rate on the maintenance and operations side of the budget to take care of local taxpayers while at the same time being able to provide the level of service, really the commitment of excellence, that is expected by our community members,” AISD Superintendent Susan K. Bohn said. “I was also really happy to hear at the last board meeting we had, a couple of citizens speak out for a tax decrease and I was happy to hear how incredibly important it is that we pay our teachers and staff at a competitive rate. It is very clear that this community supports its teachers and supports its public schools in that way.”
The maintenance and operations side of the tax rate dropped from $1.17 to $1.06 and the interest and sinking portion of the rate stayed the same at $0.425.
During the public hearing, resident Mike Olcott felt that the district should lower the tax rate an additional 4 cents. However, Aledo ISD Chief Financial Officer Earl Husfeld said lowering the tax rate too much could have consequences with state funding in relation to HB 3.
The AISD board also unanimously approved paying a portion of the district’s outstanding bonds before maturity, which will save taxpayers about $488,775 in future interest costs.
The 2019-20 fiscal year budget was also unanimously approved by the board, which met the priorities set by the district at the beginning of the process, which included salary increases, additional programs and additional staff.
“We think the budget that’s being presented meets the priorities that we determined when we started the budget development process and provides for the salaries that we’ve talked about, the additional staff and all the additional programs,” Husfeld said. “This provides our staff with the first really significant raise and all of that is a result of House Bill 3.”
The 2019-20 budget highlights include the hiring of 27 teachers, seven instructional specialists, three bus drivers, three child nutrition staff members and one section 504 clerk for a total of $1,946,350.
There will be a general pay increase for teachers, librarians and nurses of $3,700 for one to five years of experience and $3,950 for staff with six or more years of experience; and a 6 percent pay range midpoint for clerical/paraprofessional and auxiliary pay groups, a 5 percent pay range midpoint for administrative/professional pay group plus targeted adjustments for staff whose salary is within their pay range with a lesser percent of pay range midpoint for staff over pay range maximum, all for a total of $2,250,000.
There will be a budget increase of $100,000 for increased daily rates of substitute teacher pay;$200,000 budgeted for renovation/expansion of the Aledo High School ag barn; $150,000 budgeted for new AHS marching band uniforms; $100,000 budgeted for new cafeteria furniture for the high school; $244,500 budgeted for six new vehicles for the ag program, police department, maintenance department and SUVs for district-wide use.
The general fund revenues from local, state and federal total $58,434,550 and the total general fund appropriations for payroll, professional and contracted services, supplies and materials, other operating expenses and capital outlay is $56,858,625. The child nutrition fund revenues total $2,470,936 with appropriations totaling $2,695,100. The debt service fund revenues total $17,524,087 with appropriations totaling $17,524,087.
A full breakdown of the budget and tax rate can be found on the Aledo ISD website at aledoisd.org.