Kilgore ISD trustees approved a lowered tax rate for the district and a $36 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year at Monday night’s board meeting.
The approval was preceded by a public meeting during which KISD Chief Financial Officer Revard Pfeffer provided a rundown of the budget and tax rate and in which members of the public were invited to ask questions, though none did.
“This year, we propose budget revenues of $38,090,706,” Pfeffer said.
“The biggest change this year from prior is going to be our state revenues. You can see for the first time in many years state revenues exceed local revenues.”
According to Pfeffer, $19,813,696 in state funding outpaced local funding of $17,777,010, “all as a result of House Bill 3.”
H.B. 3, passed by the state legislature earlier this summer, calls for a massive increase in funding to Texas public schools at a rate never before seen in the state’s history. The funding comes with a stipulation for school boards to increase teacher and district employee pay while also cutting local property taxes.
KISD’s budget includes a lowered Maintenance and Operations Tax rate, dropping from $1.04 $0.97 per $100 of valuation, as a result of H.B. 3. In turn, this lowered local revenues.
With an average Kilgore home value of $119,518, this means homeowners will see an average decrease of $83.66 on their tax bill. The district’s Interest and Sinking tax rate will remain unchanged at $0.2692 for a total tax rate of $1.2392 per $100 of valuation.
The new budget covers expenditures of $36,993,498. This covers budget items like $1.4 million for teacher benefits, the potential costs of school bus replacements and refurbishments and capital improvement projects such as ongoing master plans to repair and replace roofs and air conditioning systems at district buildings.
The budget also includes a surplus of $1,097,208. This money will be set aside for the potential costs associated with a lawsuit over local optional homestead tax exemptions. The lawsuit, in its fifth year, calls for KISD to repay homeowners for taxes levied following the repeal of a local tax exemption.
The overall budget also includes two other budgets: a food service fund and debt service fund.
The food service funds amounts to $2.3 million of revenue and expense, a balanced sum. The debt service fund includes $4.5 million in revenue, $3.9 million in expenses, making a $610,000 surplus. $470,000 of the surplus funds are earmarked for the repayment of school construction bonds. This process will be repeated for the next 10 years until the bonds are paid off. The remaining surplus will be put into a fund to pay down school bonds as early as possible.