Sugar Land, TX News (June 18, 2014) - The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approved a $561,700,652 operating budget for the 2014 – 2015 school year at its June 9 regular business meeting. The FBISD budget reflects an increase in the property values of the District and is designed to provide educational services for a projected 72,317 students. The 2014 – 2015 budget is balanced and fiscally conservative while still supporting Board priorities and instructional programs. The 2014 – 2015 district budgeted cost per student is $7,767 with more than 64 percent of the budget allocated to instruction.
Included in the budget is a minimum of four percent salary increase for all teachers and an increase in the starting teacher salary to $50,000 from $46,500 that the Board approved in April. This budget also provides adjustments to the Teacher Salary Schedule to provide greater consistency in raises as teachers advance in experience. Additionally, the approved budget includes a salary increase for all other staff that is four percent of mid-point. As stewards of taxpayer funds, Fort Bend ISD designed this balanced budget to meet need to be competitive and recruit the best and brightest, while being frugal with taxpayer funds.
Budget includes new positions for the 2014 – 2015 school year
The budget includes the addition of 395 new campus positions – 253 teachers and 142 campus support staff – and 57 non-campus staff to address identified district priorities. Many of the new campus positions address class size, significant special education concerns, and counselor workload. Some positions address the needs of schools with growing enrollments. By adding more outclass teachers, assistant principals, and other supporting jobs, the District will better ensure smooth campus operations at our larger schools.
Of the non-campus staff positions, many of the non-campus new positions are needed for growth-related operational and technology support, and some are key leadership and management positions that support the development and implementation of systems that will better ensure the District operates in an effective and efficient manner.
The budget is based on maintaining the tax rate at its current level
Fort Bend ISD’s overall tax rate of $1.34 per $100 valuation, which includes a debt service tax rate of 30 cents combined with the District’s $1.04 maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate. Through fiscal stewardship during budget challenges, the District’s tax rate has remained at its current level for the past five years.
Board approves bond refinancing that generated interest savings of more than $15.2 million
On May 14, Fort Bend ISD refinanced portions of the Series 2004 Bonds that will save the District more than $15.2 million in interest. The District’s general obligation bonds are currently rated AA+ by Fitch and were upgraded to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s. Fort Bend ISD is one of only 15 public school districts in Texas that has a rating of AAA or AA+. According to Standard & Poor’s, the upgrade reflects Fort Bend ISD’s ongoing economic growth and strong financial performance. A high credit rating typically reduces the interest costs the District pays on bond debt. Fort Bend ISD is committed to sound financial management and prudent stewardship.