Tax rate still not final: DSISD budget increases general fund, staff pay

By Sahar Chmais and Cyndy-Slovak Barton
Approval of a $104.5 million budget moved through the Dripping Springs ISD board on June 28.
The trustees also set an updated staff compensation plan.
The proposed budget for the upcoming school year is $104.5 million, broken down into three main funds. DSISD’s general operating fund is $80.3 million, the child nutrition fund is $3.1 million and the debt service fund is calculated at $21.1 million. The budget underwent an increase from the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which was $94.4 million.
Staff will also receive a pay bump of 2.5%, which is about .5% higher than what surrounding districts have been proposing for compensation. Additionally, DSISD staff will receive stipends, amounts depending on their position.
Under the updated salaries, an incoming teacher can start making $50,150 with 0 years of experience and a maximum of $63,085 with 26 or more years of experience. The continuing teacher range maximum is set at $69,970.
The tax rate for the upcoming year has not been finalized. The board of trustees said the rate will be decided in August.
With the school district opening its fifth elementary school  and relocated another elementary school in August 2021, an increase in the budget was added to cover additional personnel costs and operating costs for those two elementaries.
The presentation given to the board showed total expenditures for the general fund of $80,324,980. A motion by DSISD Board Vice President Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick amended the earlier proposed budget to include the district’s recapture.
When looking at revenue in the proposed budget, local sources bring in $70,559,081, state sources bring in $9,186,941, and federal resources bring in $698,000.  There was a large drop in state revenue between the 2020-21 school year and the proposed 2021-22 budget of $1,542,410.
However, because of rising property taxes in Hays County, especially in DSISD, the district went into recapture mode in 2016-17. Recapture mode is set by the state to equalize income per student between wealthier and poorer school districts.
DSISD’s budget shows a recapture of $6, 974,798 for next year.

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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