GISD talks budget, tax: Proposed budget down 5% from this year

Gainesville Independent School District Finance Director Alyce Greer speaks at at a Facilities Steering Committee meeting in December 2019. This week, she said the district’s proposed budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is down about 5%.

The Gainesville Independent School District’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is down 5%, according to Finance Director Alyce Greer.

Greer presented the district’s proposed $30.4 million budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 to members of the board of trustees during a specially called meeting Monday, July 27.

“The whole budget is down by about 5% this year compared to the 2019-2020 budget that was adopted,” Greer said.

The district’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was $32,042,922, according to the budget posted to the Gainesville ISD website. The fiscal year begins Sept. 1.

Greer told board members that local revenues are up 7% but state revenue is down 13%, leading to the overall 5% decline.

During the budget workshop, Greer gave three budget options to board members which included pay raises at 1, 2 and 3%. All three had a $30.4 million bottom line. The board didn’t come to a decision on the pay raises.

Since the last budget workshop in June, the district took the average daily attendance down to 87% instead of 90%, which decreases state revenues, she said.

The district receives a basic allotment of $6,160 per student, going by the average daily attendance, according to a previous Register report.

Greer said because of the coronavirus the district isn’t certain what the future holds as far as attendance goes and she wanted to be on the “conservative” side of things.

She said she has state revenue estimated at $16,310,948 based on an average of 2,639 students attending daily.

She said the district ended the 2019-2020 school year with average daily attendance of 2,778.

Athletic revenue was pulled from the budget because of the coronavirus. That part of the budget is about $40,000.

“I’d rather estimate zero and have money coming in,” Greer said.

The district is also looking at an overall proposed tax rate of $1.13 per $100 of assessed property value. Of that amount, eight cents would go to interest and sinking and $1.05 would go to the district’s maintenance and operations.

The M&O tax rate supports day-to-day operating expenses. The I&S tax funds the district’s debt obligations.

Greer said the district’s bond debt after the Aug. 15 payment would be $31,791,287.

“That amount will be our outstanding bond debt at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year,” Greer told the Register on Wednesday, July 29.

She said the district makes payments twice a year.

Last August, board members approved an overall tax rate of $1.15 per $100 of assessed property value.

According to the district’s website, $1.07 went to the district’s maintenance and operations and eight cents went to interest and sinking.

Superintendent DesMontes Stewart said the budget is an “ever-changing topic of discussion.”

The school board is scheduled to vote on the district’s 2020-2021 budget Aug. 24 inside the board room at the Gainesville ISD Administration Building, 800 S. Morris St.

“We’ve taken a very, very, very conservative look at the budget for the 2020-2021 school year,” Stewart said. “There’s a lot of unknowns.”

All school board members were present during the budget workshop except Marvin Royal. Royal did not arrive at Monday’s meeting until members had convened into closed session for personnel considerations.

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