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Renovations, Pay Raises, New Turf, More Tech, and Stadium Upgrades

Renovations, Pay Raises,  New Turf, More Tech, and Stadium Upgrades

After all this, a solid new budget and tax rates that remain the same

 

 

 

The Wichita Falls ISD tackled a long list of upgrades and renovations in the 2015-2016 fiscal year and is still able to move into the next fiscal year with a solid balance sheet and an unchanged tax rate.

 

Accomplishments during the year included renovations at three middle schools, start-up construction at the WFISD Career Education Center, technology and safety upgrades, the addition of artificial turf on baseball and softball fields, and Memorial Stadium improvements, including paving the parking lot and renovating bathrooms.

 

All this, plus the District gave three percent pay hikes to its teachers and staff and raised the first year teacher starting pay to $43,000. The District retains $20.7 million in its fund balance, enough to cover the recommended two months of expenses.

 

Budget approved

WFISD board members unanimously approved the new 2016-2017 budget in a special session Aug. 24. The session followed a state-required public hearing on its $124.4 million budget.

 

The tax rate of  $1.23 per $100 of property valuation, which will stay the same for the new fiscal year beginning Sept. 1, remains the lowest of any school district in the area. It includes the maintenance and operations tax rate ($1.04) and the interest and sinking tax rate (.19 cents).

 

A $3.1 million carryover of construction projects – projects funded in the 2015-2016 fiscal year but to be finished in the 2016-2017 fiscal year – is the only thing preventing the District from having a balanced budget in the new year.

 

“A great year”

“To sum it up, the district had a great year,” said board member Bill Franklin.

 

Facts about the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget:

·      The General Fund spending per student in 2016-2017 will increase by 2 percent, to $8,493 per student.

·      General Fund revenues rose by 1 percent, to $107.7 million. The increase is mostly due to a rise in attendance.

·      Total General Fund expenditures rose 3 percent from last year, to $111.2 million. The increase is primarily due to payroll increases: a first-year teacher pay rate of $43,000 and a 3 percent general increase applied to the mid-point of the remaining pay scales.

·      The Food Service Fund revenue rose slightly to $7.5 million, a 1 percent increase over the prior year.

·      Food Service Fund expenses decreased 3 percent from the prior year, mostly due to payroll decreases.

·      The Debt Service Fund revenues of $8.3 million decreased by 1 percent over the prior year.

·      The Debt Service Fund expenses, at $8.4 million, remained about the same as last year.

·      In May 2015, voters approved a $59.5 million bond issue, which has been used to renovate all three middle schools to accommodate sixth-graders.

·      The District also spent money to upgrade its technology infrastructure throughout its schools.

·      Bond money was also used to resurface the Memorial Stadium parking lot and to make restroom improvements there.

·      Bond money also fueled the construction start-up and continuing work on the WFISD Career Education Center that will open Fall 2017.

·      Bond money financed ongoing safety and security enhancements throughout its schools.

·      The District issued $9 million in Maintenance Tax Notes in February 2016. It used the proceeds to complete additional capital projects: turf projects at the Hoskins and Optimist Fields and at the District’s athletic fields.

·      Other projects totaling about $3.1 million that will be completed in 2016-2017 include electrical switchgear replacements at two campuses and roof and drainage projects at various campuses.