Austin ISD board passes $1.6 billion budget

June 19, 2018 - 10:30 am
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AUSTIN (KJCE) -- Austin ISD trustees approved the district's $1.6 billion budget Monday night, covering the 2018-19 school year.

Nearly $670 million of the tax dollars that AISD collects will go to the state in recapture payments - a figure that officials say represents more than half of the tax dollars collected by the district for maintenance and operations.

"Austin ISD remains committed to serving the students, staff and community despite the array of budgetary constraints we face due to rising inflationary costs beyond our control, revenue losses, and the budget pressures mounting from our ballooning recapture payments," said Chief Business Operations Officer Nicole Conley. "As our legislators convene this winter, we will continue our efforts in encouraging them to implement solutions to fix the school finance system so this can become one of our last years we are required to pass a deficit budget. Nevertheless, we will do what is needed to serve as the cornerstone of our community and provide the necessary educational services to our AISD students and families."

The budget includes a 1.5 percent across-the-board salary increase for employees at a cost of $8.1 million, as well as efforts to mitigate premium increases to the employee health plan. Overall, the district will spend $667 million in 2018-19 on salaries and benefits.

The budget also calls for safety and security investments to fund five new district police officers, plus emergency operations and emergency notifications and salary adjustments for officer personnel, totaling more than $1.7 million.

"Austin ISD will continue to prepare students for college, career and life as we enhance school security and reinforce key academic programs to encourage student success," said Superintendent Paul Cruz. "I am proud to work with our board of trustees and staff to adopt a fiscally responsible budget that will further our goal to reinvent the urban school experience."

The district's enrollment is projected to shrink in 2018-19, dropping below 80,000 students. Enrollment has been declining in AISD since a peak in 2012.

In a separate action Monday night, the board approved a $7.1 million contract with Seton Healthcare to continue providing school nurses to the district. The approved contract calls for Seton to provide 75 full-time registered nurses, 48 clinical assistants, and five administrative employees to cover the district's 130 campuses.

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