With many of the funds lost by state budget cuts yet to be replaced, the Tomball ISD will operate with a shortfall of nearly $1 million this coming school year. Fortunately, district officers foresaw the issue and planned accordingly, setting aside funds to cover the deficit.
The district will be operating with revenues of just more than $118 million, while expenditures are expected to be a bit more than $119 million.
"In 2009 we set aside start-up money to open Tomball Memorial High School," said district chief financial officer Jim Ross. "At that time, we anticipated that a $1 million deficit would occur in the last year of the opening. The 2013-2014 school year is the last year of the opening."
Superintendent Huey Kinchen explained that the budgeting process is a long-term plan.
"During the budget process, we typically forecast about five years ahead of time," he said. "We knew we would experience a deficit budget, so we put money aside to manage the deficit. We spend conservatively, which is a key component to maintaining the financial integrity of our school district."
The district's budget consists of three separate funds. The general revenue fund is the daily operating fund and is budgeted for more than $92 million. The debt service fund has a budget of more than $22 million, while the food service fund has a balance of more than $4.5 million.
Both Ross and Kinchen said the rapid growth rate of the district calls for careful planning and budgeting. The district has operated within the same tax rate for five straight years, but revenues have increased due to the growth.
"In previous years we allocated $8 million for future growth district wide," Ross said. "We do not anticipate a tax increase other than what will be driven by the sale of the bonds related to Bond 2013. Our tax rate has been $1.36 (per every $100 of assessed valuation) for five consecutive years. We plan to continue that rate this year, which is the sixth year for a flat tax rate."
Kinchen said the budget was prepared to continue the level of service from the prior year and that no new items were added to this school year's budget.
"We have not added any new items to the budget, but we are assessing if there are additional budgetary needs for the future," he said.
Kinchen added that the budget would allow for a three percent pay raise for all teachers and staff, as well as the hiring of 96 teachers and staff.