Peaster ISD board of trustees voted unanimously to eliminate Greyhound Passes for the 2019-20 school year during Thursday’s board meeting.

The passes allowed Peaster ISD taxpayers into home athletic events without paying an entrance fee.

Tickets for varsity football will cost $10 per adult and $5 for students while volleyball and basketball games cost $4 per adult and $2 for students, Superintendent Matt Adams said. There is no gate charge for baseball and softball games.

The money generated from entrance prices would pay for the services of referees and officials, Adams said. On a typical basketball game night, officials receive about $300-400.

Adams said Greyhound Passes started being given out about five or six years ago.

“The board came up with this idea to allow taxpayers in free in anticipation that you could kind of use that as a selling point in the future if you had bond elections and trying to build some of those facilities,” Adams said. “As far as I know, we’re the only district around that does anything like that.”

Board Secretary Aric Kram said the gate fees would help offset costs and show taxpayers that the district is aiming to be responsible with taxpayer money.

Board members discussed the 2019-20 budget during their meeting. As of now, the preliminary budget is balanced at $12.3 million, which is subject to change before final approval. Because of House Bill 3, the state’s school finance reform passed in the previous legislative session, the preliminary budget has increased by about $1.254 million compared to last year.

Certified property values, which help school districts determine revenue, won’t be available until next week, Adams said.

Part of HB 3 includes state-mandated salary increases with about 30 percent of new funds going to raise pay for all staff, except administrators, and 75 percent of that portion raising pay especially for teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians. 

What is being proposed at PISD is $4,150 more for each teacher, nurse, librarian and counselor, Business Manager Amari Canafax said. This raise is a combination of local and HB 3 funds. The budget proposal also includes a 5 percent raise for auxiliary staff — on top of a 3 percent raise they received a few months ago — which is also a combination of local and HB 3 funds.

Board President Mike Bowling said the board should consider whether they want to propose a balanced or deficit budget.

“It’s been discussed in the past where we propose a balanced budget, we’re telling the state, ‘You give us plenty of money, we don’t need more,’” Bowling said. “If we propose a deficit budget, it’s more of a political move to constantly show or show at times that we as schools aren’t funded properly.”

Adams said adopting a deficit budget may be difficult to explain to taxpayers when PISD is receiving more state money. 

Kram said that the district should build up their fund balance to work on maintenance projects.

“We’ve got to start building up our reserves and rainy day fund and things like that, coming on replacing buses and things that wear out, tracks that wear out, just maintenance stuff,” Kram said. 

Trustees also passed amendments to the 2018-19 budget during the meeting, heard a report on the post-bond survey and heard facility project updates.

The board also approved Education Service Center Region 11 contracts for the 2019-20 year, Bowling as PISD’s delegate for Texas Association of School Boards and removing Darran Robertson from PISD bank accounts while adding trustee Justin McKinley.

The public hearing for the district’s proposed 2019-20 budget and tax rate is Aug. 22.