San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 17th, 2011
SMCISD trustees approve $500 bonus for district employees

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San Marcos CISD Trustees President David Chiu at an Aug. 15 meeting where the board voted for $500 bonuses for all district employees. PHOTO by SEAN BATURA


San Marcos CISD trustees on Monday voted unanimously to give almost every school district employee $500 in November in something approximating a Christmas bonus.

The audience at Monday’s school board meeting erupted in applause after trustees approved the payments. The audience appeared to be mostly composed of district staff.

According to San Marcos CISD Superintendent Mark Eads, the payments would cost the district $553,000 next budget year. Trustees plan to approve next year’s budget at a meeting on Aug. 29.

Eads said all district employees except himself and his three assistant superintendents would receive a $500 payment.

Eads said the payments are intended to offset increased insurance premiums and a lack of salary increases next budget year. Eads said more than 60 percent of district employees will have to pay premiums totaling $465-$1,104 more next year for Texas’ Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Active-Care 2 insurance program. Employees in the TRS Active-Care 1 program will pay $300-$768 more next year in premiums year. The precise premium increase depends on an employee’s type of coverage. Abild said the district will not increase its $237 per month, per employee contribution for staff insurance

During Monday’s school board meeting, San Marcos CISD Trustee Kathy Hansen noted trustees gave employees raises in the last three budget years.

“The board understands the budget crunch and also the cost increase in the insurance, and increased cost of living,” said San Marcos CISD Trustees President David Chiu during Monday’s meeting. “(The $500 payments are) a way for the board to tell you that, ‘We know, and we want to help you a little bit on this one,’ and perhaps we can do it again next year.”

A continuing trend of higher-than-expected property values next budget year could allow trustees to decrease the property tax rate, change the debt repayment schedule, or refund some bonds, Abild said.

“It just gives them (trustees) more flexibility on the debt service side,” Abild said.

The recently-certified property values resulted in $60 million and $75 million more than the preliminary values — which means about $50,000 more next year for the district than previously-thought.

San Marcos CISD staff have trimmed $3,058,673 from the proposed FY 2012 budget to cope with state funding cuts of $2.2 million next budget year, Abild said. Abild said he expects an additional $1.8 million less in state funding for the district in FY 2013. Compared to FY 2011, there would be about $4 million less in state funding in FY 2013.

As of Monday, the district anticipates a surplus of $2,158,598 in the general fund budget in fiscal year (FY) 2012. The district projects a general fund deficit of $806,773 in FY 2013.

District staff propose no change to the current tax rate of $1.35 per $100 of taxable valuation. The maintenance and operations portion of $1.04 may not be increased without voter approval.

The largest budget cut proposed for FY 2012 is in personnel-related expenses, though the district has no plans to lay anyone off. Twenty-four personnel positions are proposed to be eliminated by reduction, absorption, and attrition, which will enable about $1.3 million in savings, according to Abild. These savings constitute the district’s largest budget reduction proposed for FY 2012.

The proposed FY 2012 budget includes 11.5 new personnel positions to accommodate the career academies program, which debuts this fall. The new positions will cost about $277,000, Abild said.

Other cuts the district proposes to made include $347,598 in general fund debt obligations, $200,000 in campus and departmental budgets related to travel, $100,000 in consulting costs, about $200,000 in administrative/clerical salaries to accommodate the 4-day summer work week, about $150,000 in general departmental budget allocations, $50,000 in subscription software costs, and $36,000 in rental costs.

Abild estimated the district will have $26 million in reserves next budget year.

The district’s proposed FY 2012 budget includes general fund revenues of $56,537,734 and expenditures of $54,379,136. The district’s general fund revenues and expenditures this year will total $57,437,809, according to Abild.

The proposed budget includes debt fund revenues of $10,372,976 and $10,049,514 of expenditures. Debt service fund revenues are $10,055,990 and expenditures are $10,044,914 in this year’s budget.

The proposed budget includes special revenue fund revenues and expenditures of $3,602,658. Special revenue fund revenues and expenditures are $3,560,104 in this year’s budget. Special revenue fund revenues come from local, state, and federal sources and are used for food services and facility plant maintenance and operations.

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