Maintaining the current ad valorem tax rate was one of several highlights in Dripping Springs ISD’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which was approved unanimously by board trustees June 26.
The budget, presented by Assistant Superintendent Elaine Cogburn, reflects the district’s practice of having revenues fund ongoing expenditures and limiting the amount of those expenditures in order to keep a balance.
With this policy, the board prohibits exceeding beyond a two percent deficit of the proposed budget’s revenue. The goal of the policy, which was enacted in 2014, would prevent any potential deficit from draining the district’s fund balance below a threshold of four months of operating expenses.
The total expenditure of the accepted budget comes to $76,496,069 which is spread among the general fund, debt service and child nutrition.
However, the general fund faces a deficit of roughly 2 million dollars. General funding covers the revenues received from local taxes and entitlement from the state as well as expenditures for the district’s daily operations.
Meanwhile, the district’s debt service budget will have a surplus of roughly $460,000, while the child nutrition budget will also face a deficit of $383,370.
“The state’s portion of funding has dropped in recent years and the district’s recapture payment has increased, making budgeting more challenging for our district,” said Bruce Gearing, Dripping Springs ISD superintendent. “Our Board and administration are always cognizant of the importance of being efficient stewards of taxpayer money. The 2017-18 approved budget reflects the district’s continued growth and the opening of two new schools.”
Additionally, Gearing said the district was able to provide a cost-of-living increase for employees, maintain existing programs, and serve our students while maintaining the current tax rate.
DSISD’s tax rate will remain at $1.52, with $1.17 going to maintenance and operations (M&O).
The budget also highlighted several important developments for the district, including a projected student enrollment of 6,231, which was a 463 student increase over last year.
Dripping Springs ISD had 95.5 employee position growth, a 2 percent average cost of living increase for employees and a contract extension for Gearing.
In August 2017, the district will also be opening Sycamore Springs Elementary, the district’s fourth elementary school, and Sycamore Springs Middle School, the district’s second middle school, with the additional personnel and operating costs reflected in the recent budget.
Dripping Springs ISD has consistently received strong ratings within financial accountability systems and currently carries one of the highest credit ratings of any school district in the state.
Dripping Springs ISD’s budget by the numbers