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Leander ISD Board adopts budget, tax rate

Leander ISD Board adopts budget, tax rate
Posted on 08/18/2017
Photo of the Leander ISD Board of Trustees: Board Approves 2017-18 Budget

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With 1,200 new students expected to fill Leander ISD classrooms this school year, the Board of Trustees approved a 2017-18 budget that adds positions and increases salaries for all employees.

Trustees approved a $326.3 million operating budget during their regular meeting Thursday night, funding for 39,154 students, growing 4 percent from the previous year. To pay for the new budget, Trustees voted to maintain the tax rate of $1.51 per $100 valuation.

“I am extremely proud of the conscientious efforts of our staff and Board of Trustees to create a budget plan that supports teachers, focuses on student learning and honors our community’s investment,” LISD Superintendent Dan Troxell, Ph.D., said.

The budget includes 138 new positions to meet the needs of growing enrollment and the opening of its newest school, Akin Elementary.

In June, the Board approved a 3-percent salary increase for all employees, increasing starting teacher salaries to $46,150. The raise includes a $1,548 increase for experienced teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses, making LISD the second highest-paying district in Central Texas for veteran teachers.

“I want to thank all of our staff and Board for all their work on the budget,” Board president Pamela Waggoner said. “This budget puts us in a position to start talking about property tax relief with our next budget. I am excited to continue seeking out solutions that fund high-quality schools and honor the investment of our taxpayers.”

In addition to adding new positions to address growth, the new budget includes additional funding for health care, $500,000 to help fund the Texas Teacher Retirement System’s TRS Care program and $448,000 for health care contributions for current employees.

State funding will decrease by 10 percent for the 2017-18 budget, equaling 24 percent of the operational budget, while local property taxes cover more than 74 percent of the costs for operating schools.

In addition to the $326.3 million for operations, the Board approved a $13 .7 million food service and $103.8 million debt service budgets, totaling $443.8 million for the year.