LISD nears budget approval
By LPR Staff
Without input or participation from any private citizens, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees came one step closer to approving a budget for the coming fiscal year on Monday.
Despite repeated announcement of a public hearing, no citizens attended Monday”s meeting to give input or question the board
on budgeting decisions that will effect more than $12 million of area taxpayer money.
As the budget stands, the district is planning more than $31.2 million in expenses next year, more than 80 percent of which will be spent on salaries and benefits. The total includes a state-mandated pay raise for teachers, as well as several allowances and stipends.
According to the district”s Finance Director Tina Knudsen, the budget could undergo significant change as the year goes on because many calculations are based upon student population, and the district”s student population did not increase this year as it was expected to do.
Changes made to school finance by the State Legislature this summer have significantly increased the State”s contribution to local school funding, bringing an additional $3 million to the district”s coffers over last year. However, increased spending at the district level means that budget will show only a $735,000 excess when the fiscal year is through.
For the coming year, the district is considering a 15-cent total decrease in tax rates, with 13 coming off the maintenance and opera tions rate and a two-cent decline in the debt service rate. According to Knudsen, the board”s decision to refinance certain bonds has allowed for the debt service decline.
The Board of Trustees is required to approve the budget on or before Aug. 31, 2006. Therefore, they will have one more meeting to discuss the issue. The LISD Board will meet on Monday, Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the LISD Administrative Offices to vote on the proposed budget and tax rate.
To acquire a copy of the proposed budget, contact LISD at (512) 398-0000.