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LISD Board approves $72.6 M budget for 2022-2023

Christina Courson

 

DATE: June 27, 2022

LISD Board approves $72.6 million budget for 2022-2023

Lockhart Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a budget for 2022-2023 totaling $72.6 million at its regular meeting Monday night.  

 

Budget


Included in the approved budget is the historic 2022-2023 Employee Compensation Plan. Teachers will receive up to 8 percent in pay raises with an emphasis on rewarding veteran teachers for their valuable experience and years of service. Clerical paraprofessional staff will receive up to a 37 percent increase. Auxiliary staff will receive up to a 28 percent increase in pay. Administrative professional staff will receive an increase of 3 percent of the midpoint of the new pay scale recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Substitute teachers will receive between a 9% - 15% increase in pay, depending on the type of substitute. 

In addition, Lockhart ISD is moving away from the Texas Retirement System’s health insurance plans to its own self-funded insurance plan called Lion Care. The movement to this model results in savings of $21 - $1,559 per month, depending on an employee’s current TRS Active Care health insurance plan. Those employees who already moved away from the TRS Active Care plan to the Texas School Health Benefits Program will save between $24 - $213 per month. The employee-only plan remains free. The district anticipates additional savings with lower deductibles, prescription costs, and other out-of-pocket costs for its staff. 

The budget includes an increase of $1,065,307 in the instructional budget for the district.  Additionally, funds are allocated for safety and security upgrades related to fencing, door access, and cameras. 

Because state funding of school districts in Texas is heavily determined by average daily attendance (ADA), many school districts entered the budget planning season significantly impacted by lower attendance due to the pandemic. While the Texas Education Agency opted to hold districts harmless for the first four six-week periods of the 2021-2022 school year, districts still experienced a loss of state funding resulting from decreased attendance for the rest of the school year. 

For many years, Lockhart ISD Board and district leaders have diligently and intentionally built a fund balance. As a result, LISD is well-positioned to mitigate the financial hit of the pandemic year. The best practice is for school districts to save at least three months of operating expenditures for the purpose of unanticipated emergencies such as natural disasters and pandemics. As of June 30, the district will have an estimated $20.2 million in fund balance, enough to cover up to four months of operating expenses, well over the best practice. As a result, the district is in a strong position to use the fund balance as intended, for this emergency, and will transfer funds to the general operating budget not to exceed $570,081 in the 2022-2023 school year. Historically, the school district has not expended its total school year budget, so the fund transfers may not be necessary or may be much less than expected.

“As school districts across the state have struggled through the budget season with challenges quite out of their control, I am proud of what the Board and our business office have done over these years to build a very healthy fund balance so we can weather this storm. Through this experience, we created a budget that is conservative and takes into account the expected attendance impact with the ongoing pandemic,” said Superintendent Mark Estrada. “Not only are we able to move through these challenges, but we are also able to do so while still taking care of our staff with competitive pay increases, significant cost savings, improved benefits to take care of our staff, and staffing to meet the needs of our students. These decisions were anchored in our district values, and I am grateful to the Board for their leadership through it all.” 


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