Budget Amendment, Impact Of House Bill 3 On Funding Discussed at SSISD Meeting

Despite containing two financial reports, one of which required action, the regular portion of Friday’s special noon meeting of Sulphur Springs Independent School District concluded in about 15 minutes. After an executive session trustees also accepted two letters of resignation.

Foundation School Program

House Bill 3 amended Chapter 48.256 of the education code regarding what tax figures are used to calculate Foundation School Program funding. However, that shouldn’t have too big an impact funding in the coming school year, according to SSISD Superintendent Michael Lamb.

The amendment stipulates that current year property tax values instead of the preceding taxable property values will be used moving forward to calculate the local share of FSP. This applies to all FSP calculations including those for Instructional Facilities Allotment and Existing Debt Allotment funding under Chapter 46 of TEC.

Texas Commission on Public School Finance recommended the change to “eliminate any potential mismatch between the values a district was using as a base for local tax collections and the values used by the state to compute a district’s local share of the FSP,” according to a letter sent out by Texas Education Agency. This too allows the state to “raise the basic allotment for all students and provide more funding to the vast majority of districts.”

TEA will use 2018 final certified values from the comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division inflated by 5.76 percent as required by Rider 3, Article III of the General Appropriations Act,” for the 2020 school year, according to the TEA release.

“For our district, we have been blessed that we have been able to cover that,” SSISD Business Manger Sherry McGraw told trustees at Friday’s meeting.

“Bigger districts were not in favor of it. For us, we’ve steadily gone up every year. So what ends up happening: it’s a pretty good jump from year to year, which is part of why they’re able to afford House Bill 3. But, now that we’re on this year’s tax values, we’ll go right back to that normal range of up that we’ve experienced, as long as the trend continues,” Superintendent Michael Lamb said.

Amended Budgets

SSISD trustees also approved amended food service, debt service and general fund budgets as presented by Business Manager Sherry McGraw.

The debt service budget required no changes, remaining $4,212,819.

The food service budget increased by $181,950 due to commodities, but revenue received for the same amount offset the increase, Mcgraw explained. The business office requested an additional $30,000 be included for any unforeseen expenditures over the amount anticipated through August 2019. That increases the food service budget from $2.27 million in the original budget approved in 2018 to $2.455 million to finish the fiscal year.

The general fund budget adopted in September 2018 for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31 was amended in May by $304,310 to include $145,640 in restructuring costs, $95,499 for athletic facility upgrades, $19,573 for CTE house construction and $43,598 in fees related to the boys team playing in the state basketball tournament in the spring. The district receive $24,206 in revenue, however to offset a portion of the basketball tourney fees.

SSISD trustees also had to move from one fuction to another the expenditure for the payment to Paris Junior College for the old tech center building, now used for SSHS classes.

Since May, the district also spent $497,965 in general fund expenditures. However, because of revenue offsets, they have no impact on the overall budget, according to McGraw. The district received $42,944 in gate receipts, which are transferred into the appropriate function. Transferred into Function 11, instruction, were the $368,590 for laptop lease fee balance for high school and the $86,431 in Texas Retirement System Medicare GASB24 in state revenue.

Overall, that’s a total general fund adjustment of $802,275. However, McGraw asked the board to consider approving a 0.75 percent surplus, which would be used “just in case” any of the 19 functions had expenditures that were not anticipated in the projected budget. If a bill has yet to come in for an expense or comes in a little higher than expected, the surplus would cover that expenditure to prevent a functional deficit.

“Your approval does not mean we will go out and spend the surplus funds. It just means if any expenditures come in that we were not expecting or if auditors’ adjustments increase or change an expenditure in a function, we have allocated to each function surplus funds in order to avoid any findings in our annual financial report,” McGraw noted.

The surplus to the general fund budget would be $286,790, for an overall general fund increase this year of $1,089,065. That’s offset by $522,171 overall in general fund revenue, leaving an increase of $566,894, according to McGraw.

That increases the overall general fund budget, as amended, from $37.7 million to $38,789,220.

Personnel

Following an executive session, SSISD trustees reconvened in open session to formally accept the resignations of Rickey Gilliam, a district bus mechanic, and Mariah Kendricks, a special education aide at Barbara Bush Primary School.

Author: Faith Huffman

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