All employees to receive raises using state funding
KERENS–Kerens ISD trustees Monday, June 24 passed the district’s 2019-20 school-year budget, which starts July 1 and includes at least a six-percent raise for every employee, totaling about $667,000 and accounting for around 80 percent of the budget increase.
The raises come courtesy of state legislation that boosts the basic per-student state allotment from $5,140 to $6,160, said Superintendent Martin Brumit, and which also mandates that each Texas school district lower its maintenance and operations (M&O) portion of the tax rate by seven cents, which Brumit said is “a very positive thing for this community.”
That means the Kerens ISD M&O tax rate is expected by fall from $1.04 per $100 property valuation to 97 cents per $100 valuation, with this year’s Navarro Central Appraisal District valuations not yet certified.
The district’s interest and sinking (I&S) portion of the tax rate, which now stands at 40 cents per $100 valuation and is used to pay off debt, also is expected to decrease to 38 cents per $100 when trustees adopt the 2019-20 property tax rate in August.
Kerens ISD business manager Jim Kendall told trustees that the proposed nine-cent tax decrease means the district will “provide the same amount of schooling with less money” collected from local property owners.
In total, the Kerens ISD 2019-20 general fund, co-curricular (athletics) and food-service funds tied to M&O taxes are budgeted at about $7.5 million in revenues, with appropriations of around $7.4 million. The debt-service fund replenished by I&S taxes is estimated to generate about $1.13 million in revenue (including some taxes, interest and penalties from the prior budget year) against $1.085 million in appropriations.
KISD trustees also adopted the school’s 2019-20 compensation plan, which is determined by comparing KISD pay with similar surrounding districts, and which Brumit said increased by a total of 19.84 percent, mirroring the state-mandated minimum boost under Texas law.
The minimum, midpoint and maximum pay scales, which Brumit said will soon be posted on the district’s website, include pay increases ranging from $6,000 to $10,000, based on years of service. KISD stipends range from $500 to $4,500, while per-hour rates for cafeteria and custodial staff range from $8.75 per hour to $14 per hour.
The KISD school board also heard an update on the ongoing bond-funded district building project, approved by voters in May 2017 and for which trustees voted to approve the tenth payment of $545,737.
Stephen Berry of Berry and Clay Construction said lighting in the new dining hall has been installed and that air conditioning in the dining, art and home economics spaces is up and running. The secondary school’s roof will soon be installed, he said, and the foundation upon which the former sports locker room and weight-training facility once sat before being demolished will soon be removed.
Berry said once staff and students are using the new dining hall and kitchen, the current dining facility will be demolished, probably in fall 2019. KISD Student Services Director Brad Atkeisson added that the secondary school is scheduled to open in Jan. 2020.