LISD gets good news about budget

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Photo courtesy of the Lewisville ISD

Following its summer break, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees met for the first time in a Board Workshop on Aug. 2 and approved publishing its proposed tax rate for the 2018-19 academic year.

However, perhaps the biggest news out of the meeting is that the recapture amount LISD had expected to pay back to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) could be smaller than expected.

In 1993, to provide court-mandated equitable school financing for all school districts in Texas, the State Legislature passed Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code (TEC).

The idea behind the state’s recapture system is to have Chapter 41 School Districts with Recapture– “rich” school districts– pay into the state, which then supports poorer districts (Chapter 42), hence the “Robin Hood” nickname. A district’s wealth is determined by measuring property value against weighted-average-daily-attendance (WADA) — or simply put, property tax value in the district per student-hours spent in district schools.

The district has been adjusting to start paying into the state’s recapture finance system, since it learned in December that there had been an unexpected drop in enrollment during the previous year.

After LISD lost 782 students and its property tax values continued to rise, the WADA rose past the point at which LISD is considered a “rich” district; the result is a designation as a Chapter 41 School District with No Recapture. District officials had been anticipating this, but not so early.

For months in budget discussions, the district had expected to owe about $700,000 in recapture payments for the 2018 fiscal year; which would increase to more than $35 million in fiscal year 2019 and more than $73 million in fiscal year 2020.

But, based on summer enrollment/attendance numbers, the amount anticipated for fiscal year 2018 might be going down. District CFO Mike Ball said that after the summer Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) submission, the district might not owe anything. The PEIMS covers all requested data received by TEA about public education, including: student demographic and academic performance; personnel; financial; and, organizational information.

“It [the July 25 roll data] supports what we knew all along, which is that students are coming to us with greater needs,” Ball said. “That, then, has reduced our projected recapture amount. In fact, it may totally eliminate the recapture for the current year.”

The summer PEIMS submission is one of the final calculation criteria for calculating WADA, but Ball said they still need to look at tax collection for the next month to be certain.

A PowerPoint presentation during the Aug 2 meeting suggested lowering the interest and tax rate from $0.3675 to $0.355 as the proposed tax rate for the 2018-19 academic year. The district cannot raise the $1.04 maintenance and operations tax rate without holding an election.

The Board targeted the weekend of Aug. 10-12 as the date for publication of its proposal.

The first regular Board of Trustees meeting is Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Administrative Center, 1565 W. Main Street in Lewisville.

A special meeting to pass the tax rate and associated budget is set for Aug. 27. The LISD fiscal year starts Sept. 1, so the meeting to approve the budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 will take place only four days before the start of the fiscal year.

District Superintendent Kevin Rogers joked about the constant shifting of budget numbers at the beginning of the Aug. 2 meeting.

“We worked a lot since last December to get to this point, and one of the things I know you’re aware of– and we appreciate your flexibility on– is that numbers are always changing,” he said. “But we are ready to have the numbers not change.”

At the end of the meeting, Rogers gave an update on the citizen budget committee that he suggested earlier in the year. He said he finalized the list of people on the committee and added the committee’s first meeting is set for Sept. 5.

 

Information provided by The Lewisville Texan Journal.

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