Waco ISD's Board of Trustees adopted a 2016-17 budget Thursday night that provides an average 2 percent pay hike to employees and increases the district's health insurance contribution, while maintaining the same tax rate as the year before.
Priorities in the new budget besides the employee compensation increases include implementation of an elementary gifted and talented program, expanding the successful ATLAS program, and additional secondary teachers to accommodate an eight-period day that has been instrumental in boosting accountability numbers.
The $139.5 million dollar operating budget calls for taking $3.8 million from the general fund to cover a deficit, leaving a balance in that account of more than $31 million. That still exceeds the minimum the District wants to keep in that fund, which is 20 percent of the operating budget ($28 million).
The District's overall tax rate will stay at $1.40, the same as last year. However, the average homeowner will pay $56.55 more in school property taxes because of an increase in tax appraised values in McLennan County.
Trustees unanimously approved the budget, and Board President Pat Atkins praised Chief Financial Officer Sheryl Davis and her staff for their work on it. But Atkins is cautious about the District continuing to dip into reserve money, saying that practice "is not sustainable," and he would like more discussion this next year on ways to cut costs.
The district's fiscal year begins September 1.