Weatherford ISD board of trustees discussed the 2019-20 budget during a special meeting on Monday evening.
Preliminary total revenue is expected to be about $79.2 million, with about $79.15 million for expenditures and a tax rate of $1.3474 per $100 valuation. The predicted fund balance, or the district’s savings, is expected to be about $20.6 million.
Revenue and expenditures totals are subject to change.
These preliminary figures take into account House Bill 3, which was recently passed by the state House of Representatives and Senate. The bill is in Gov. Greg Abbott’s court now and awaits his signature.
HB 3 includes $6.5 billion to pay teachers and funding for districts and $5.1 billion to lower district taxes. For teachers, the bill directs districts to use part of the per-student funding raise on salary increases for teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors. A smaller amount of funding is supposed to go toward pay raises for all district staff members, dispensed at the administrators’ discretion.
HB 3 also includes full day pre-kindergarten funding for eligible students, more money for educating low-income students, incentives for districts to offer dual language programs and improve dyslexia programs and funding for teacher merit pay programs available to districts that want to develop one.
For WISD, HB 3 compresses the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate while also adding to the basic allotment, Business and Finance Assistant Superintendent Lori Boswell said. The district is also not subject to recapture payments to the state for poorer districts based on the bill.
It is unclear how some parts of HB 3, like teacher incentives, will affect WISD, Boswell said.
Human Resources and Operations Assistant Superintendent Monty Chapman proposed a plan to increase staff salaries by 3 percent on top of the raises they are getting from HB 3. For added staffing, Chapman showed the recommended list of positions, which includes seven security officers at elementary campuses.
Board Vice President Greg Shaw questioned why the district needs to add these security officers.
“I would just like more information about what this looks like,” Shaw said. “Are these armed security guards? Are they sitting in an office? Are they driving a designated vehicle?”
WISD Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said the security guards are not intended to be armed and would have some experience in law enforcement or security.
“If we let them sit in an office and hide there, then that’s on us,” Hanks said. “That’s not what their intention is. They should be out and be seen and assisting the staff.”
The budget and tax rate is set to be approved on Aug. 12. Administration will recommend the compensation increase to the board for approval on Monday. There will be another board work session on July 29.