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Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Message: Budget Adoption

Dear Friend,

I am sharing this message to let you know about the district’s latest budget adoption. As a friend and supporter of North East ISD, I feel it is important to be transparent in our decisions and make this information available to you.

During a public meeting on June 25, the NEISD Board of Trustees approved the 2012-2013 district budget comprised of the general, debt service and school nutrition services funds. Next year’s General Fund budget reflects $475,794,404 in revenue and $493,019,033 in expenditures. This means that for the first time in years, the district will be forced to draw upon its fund balance to meet some of its expenses. This is due, in large part, to school funding cuts at the state level.

NEISD’s revenue for 2011-2012 is approximately $21 million less than 2010-2011 revenue and $28 million less than NEISD would have received had the state not cut school funding. For 2012-2013, revenue is expected to fall another $9 million, which is $42 million less than the state formulas would have provided for 2012-2013 before the legislature’s 2011 reductions.

There is no indication at this point that school funding will improve any time before 2014, as the various school funding lawsuits make their way through the court system. Even with a positive result from the courts, the legislature would still need time to create a funding system that meets constitutional requirements.

The district foresaw this situation building years ago, and implemented an austerity and cost-saving initiative that cut expenses – without sacrificing instruction – and grew our fund balance. This put us in a position to be able to sustain our district’s needs for the next few years, as well as provide a much needed benefit to our employees.

On June 11, the board voted unanimously to approve a two percent general pay increase for all eligible employees. For teachers and librarians, this equals an additional $1,034 annually. The new entry salary for beginning teachers and librarians will be $46,634. For all other eligible employees, the two percent general pay increase is calculated off the midpoint of the pay grade for each position. Individuals employed for less than 90 days in the 2011-2012 school year will receive a pay scale adjustment equaling approximately one percent off the pay grade midpoint.

We recommended this pay increase to the board because we know that it has been two years since teachers received a raise and three years for all other eligible employees. We are also aware that with the elimination of the retention supplement, most NEISD employees experienced a decrease in compensation for 2011-2012.

Additionally, the school nutrition services fund budget was approved last night. The district will increase cafeteria tray prices by five cents for full price elementary, secondary and adult lunches. This increase is required to maintain compliance with federal laws governing free and reduced lunch programs. Reduced cost meals and all breakfast costs will remain the same.

Our proposed tax rate will increase to cover anticipated payments from the first issue of the 2011 bond authorization. The average homeowner will see an annual increase of $28 a year -- a decrease from our original proposal that estimated an annual increase of $72. We will take the new debt service tax rate to the board on August 13 for approval.

The employee benefits package will be presented for board approval in July and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013 for the next calendar year. More details on this will follow in the coming weeks. For more information, I encourage you to view the entire budget presentation at: http://www.neisd.net/fina/NEISD_Budget_Info.html

We have been diligent in taking steps to protect our future financial viability, but still have a long road ahead. Throughout it all we will remain good stewards of taxpayer dollars and focus on meeting the obligations to our students and staff. Thank you for your continued support.

From time to time, I'd like to continue sharing news with you and keep you informed of what is happening at NEISD. If you would like to be removed from my distribution list, please reply to this e-mail but do not change the subject line.

Sincerely,
Brian G. Gottardy, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Posted on June 26, 2012