Magnolia ISD employees should get a break for the coming year in the form of a three percent raise across the board. According to Chief Financial Officer Erich Morris, the MISD board of trustees is expected to pass a final budget totaling $79.8 million, which is more than $1.3 million higher than the previous year, at its monthly meeting Aug. 20. Along with personnel raises, up to 16 new staff positions (six teachers and ten paraprofessionals) are anticipated, based on specific district needs.
Morris stated the budget should be balanced and would result in a surplus of up to $400,000 at the end of the year, which can help with the budget for the following year. This year’s new funds are a result of slightly higher Montgomery County property appraisals and new student growth, which is projected to be about one percent.
“The property tax rate for schools will remain the same as in 2011-12,” said Morris. “We are adopting a very conservative approach to the budget because we do not know what the next state legislature will do in regard to school funding. We are in the second year of the current two-year state finance system, which means there will be no big uncertainty in funding for the 2012-13 school year. However, there could be changes as a result of the next legislative session.”
Morris indicated that other factors could increase the amount of funding received by MISD, such as greater new student numbers than expected or higher property tax collections. However, he agreed the best approach to the budget was a conservative one, in order to meet the overall needs of the district and ensure no new layoffs.
MISD will also be increasing the lunch price for students that are not receiving reduced-price meals in order to cover rising food costs and to adhere to federal guidelines outlined in the Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. The new lunch price will be $2.15 for elementary students and $2.40 for secondary students, an increase of $0.10 in both cases. There will be no increase in breakfast charges.