Fort Bend Independent School District
** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **
Dear Community Member,
As you may know, we are in the process of preparing the District’s budget for the 2012-2013 school year. I am pleased to report that we are projecting a gain in general fund revenue from the State next year. Our District is projected to receive $15.5 million in additional revenue for our maintenance and operating (M&O) budget. The following are highlights of next year’s proposed budget.
Proposed raise and addition of staff due to growth
Eighty-six (86%) percent of our M&O budget is salaries and benefits for our employees. Due to the additional revenue for next year, we plan to spend more than $12 million on salaries and benefits. We are proposing a two percent salary increase for all employees and an increase in the starting teacher salary to $44,750. Although we are not opening any new campuses for the first time since 2005, we must also budget for additional staff due to growth. For example, we are adding another grade level at Ridge Point High School.
FBISD spends 67% on classroom instruction; one of the highest levels among peer districts
After losing close to $50 million dollars of state funding over the past two years and dealing with budget shortfalls, we have had to do more with less staff and less resources. During this time, we are proud of the fact that we maintained instructional spending in the classroom at 67 percent.
District’s tax rate remains at current level; one of the lowest in the Houston area
Our 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 M&O tax rate, will remain at its current level for 2012-2013. At its March 26 Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to take advantage of the historic low interest rates and authorized the administration to pursue a refunding of a portion of our outstanding debt so that the District could take advantage of the lower rates. This action will reduce the total amount of outstanding debt and afford the district the opportunity to maintain the debt service tax rate at the current level. As part of this adoption, the Board officially rescinded the declaration of financial exigency which was adopted last spring and scheduled to expire in June of this year.
FBISD maintains strong financial position receiving AA+ Fitch Rating
Fitch Ratings recently gave Fort Bend ISD a AA+ bond rating. In addition, the District’s bonds are secured by the Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF), whose bond guarantee program is rated AAA by Fitch. This is good news and means we are prudently managing resources, which is important to continue to maintain our healthy financial position and strong bond rating.
In closing, we know there is more work to complete before the adoption of the 2012-2013 Budget, but I wanted to share the prognosis of a better year ahead and thank you for your continued support for our students and staff.