Montgomery ISD approves balanced budget of $85 million for fiscal year 2022-23

Trustees approved a balanced budget on June 28 for the 2022-23 fiscal year at Montgomery ISD, totaling $85.09 million in general fund expenses and $85.14 million in general fund revenue, according to information from the district.

This is an increase of $6 million from the $79.5 million in revenue and $79.3 million in expenditures approved for the 2021-22 fiscal year, according to previous reports.

The approved budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins July 1, includes increases to employees enacted in the district’s compensation plan in April, such as a $2,000 increase for teachers and a 3% increase in the median salary for all other employees, Kris Lynn said. , Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations. According to a June 28 district statement, all returning employees will also receive a $1,000 retention allowance, with some high-need and specialized positions receiving an additional $500.

“Compensating our incredible employees has been the highest priority of this council,” Superintendent Heath Morrison said at the meeting.

The approved budget also includes funding for two additional MISD police officers to ensure each campus has a dedicated police officer, district officials said. According to the release, MISD has added seven positions to its police department since 2020.

“Since I first became superintendent, we have added officers every year, but with the additional officers hired this year, we will now have enough officers for each campus to have one dedicated officer on that campus, and then two officers at every high school,” Morrison said in a June 30 interview.

The budget also includes the creation of a gifted and talented coordinator and the additional staffing of the specialized learning department, according to the statement.

“We have additional state dollars this year that need to be directed to gifted and talented instruction, and so we have a gifted and talented staff and parent committee that has met throughout the year, and… one of the highest requests they had was a [coordinator] who could oversee these programs, ensure consistency across the school district, help identify additional students who should benefit from gifted and talented teaching, and then just enhance the opportunities,” Morrison said in a June 30 interview. .

In addition, he said the additional staff in the specialized learning department includes hiring more diagnosticians, more staff for dyslexia services and other positions to help reduce the time between when students are referred for special education services and when they are eventually accepted to receive services.

“We are pleased that the budget is balanced, that our teachers and staff are receiving salary increases, and that there are targeted investments to continue our district’s commitment to improving school safety and adding positions for children. specialized learning needs – all important priorities for our community,” the board said. Vice President Laurie Turner said in the statement.

During the June 28 meeting, the district also approved $87,566 in start-up costs to implement mandatory ID cards for students and staff in the 2022-23 school year in an effort to to increase safety and security on campuses, and the district approved $49,000 to purchase Halo smart sensors to detect vaping in restrooms at Lake Creek and Montgomery high schools.

However, district administrators and officials said they are also concerned about maintaining a balanced budget in the 2023-24 fiscal year, as the district sees less state funding per student than the district. state average.

Morrison said the gap has widened every year since 2016 between the average state funding per student statewide and what MISD has received per student.

According to the release, MISD received $7,499 per student in the 2016-17 fiscal year, $2,078 less than the state average. MISD received $8,070 per student in the 2019-20 fiscal year, which is $2,740 less than the state average.

“This budget has probably been one of the toughest to put together in my 21-year career, and so I see it getting exponentially tougher next year,” Lynn said during the meeting.

However, administrators are expected to approve a tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year in August, and with property values ​​increasing, MISD expects the tax rate to be reduced by $1.26 per property assessment. $100 to $1.23 per $100 valuation, according to the release.

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