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Wichita Falls ISD Board Members Pass Budget That Gives 3 Percent Pay Raises

2014-2015 budget reflects tax decrease, teacher and staff salary/stipend increases, and $1.2 million surplus

On Wednesday, Wichita Falls ISD board members unanimously adopted a $118 million general fund budget for the 2014-2015 school year.

The budget gives a three percent pay raise to teachers and a three percent salary increase to all other WFISD employees.

The district also increased its employee health insurance contribution by $26 per month to offset a health insurance hike.

The new budget funds stipend increases of five percent, with a larger, 25 percent hike to the master’s degree stipend. It rose from $2,000 to $2,500.

The newly adopted budget features a $1.2 million surplus that was made possible by WFISD’s more efficient staffing ratios and the consolidation of two elementary schools and two junior highs, according to budget documents.

It also reflects the state’s return of $1.7 million in funding for the 2014-2015 school year that is over and above last year’s funding.

Last fiscal year’s state revenue was $59.4 million; this fiscal year’s state revenue is $61.1 million – a 2.9 percent increase, or $1.7 million.

The state made massive reductions in education funding in 2011 -- $5.4 billion statewide -- and has been gradually restoring those monies.

Taxpayers will see a decrease in their property taxes this year after board members unanimously adopted a new, lower tax rate.

The WFISD debt fund tax rate decreased seven cents – from 16 cents to 9 cents -- per $100 property valuation because of the roll-off of old debt. The maintenance and operations part of the two-pronged tax rate stayed the same at $1.04 per $100 in property valuation. The combined rate is $1.135 per $100 valuation.

That is reduced from last year’s combined tax rate of $1.205 per $100 valuation.

At the new lower tax rate, a taxpayer with a residence of average size with a taxable value of $99,000 will pay $43 less in taxes, according to the WFISD’s posted tax rate document.

Taxes provide $3,484 in local monies per student this year atop the state’s $4,200 per student. In WFISD, total per-student funding is $7,684.

The budget gives WFISD a $19.7 million fund balance by the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The budget also increases the wage of a new teacher. A new hire with zero years experience will now earn $39,000 compared to last year’s $38,188.

“I’m proud that we are giving a large raise to our staff,” said WFISD Board President Trey Sralla. “We know we’re not where we need to be, but we are covering an increase in health insurance so staff will see every penny of the raise.”

WFISD’s new, lower tax rate reflects one of the lowest tax rates in North Texas and statewide, emphasized board members Kevin Goldstein and Elizabeth Yeager after Wednesday’s unanimous vote.

Follow WFISD on Twitter @WFISDschools