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Plano ISD school board hears budget report
An estimate of Plano ISD's 2013-2014 budget revenues projects a loss in state funding totaling $12.1 million if no changes are made to the state's school finance formula this session.
Steve Fortenberry, associate superintendent for business and facility services, presented the budget update to the Plano ISD school board at its Tuesday meeting.
Projections show property tax revenues increasing by 3 percent, which should translate to $11.4 million in additional local revenue, Fortenberry said.
"We remind you that if it's higher than that, we'll lose some state aid," he said, referring to rules set in 2006 by the state's target revenue funding system. "If it's lower than that, we'll gain some state aid, so the two will pretty much offset each other."
However, the district expects significantly less money from the state if the state Legislature continues existing funding formulas. While the district is projected to receive $2 million in additional state aid, per-student funding is expected to decline by $6.7 million, a 34 percent decrease.
Taking into account the projected $7 million recapture payment the district will have to make into the Robin Hood system and a $200,000 decrease in Foundation School Program funding, the district stands to lose $21.1 million in state funding, Fortenberry said.
"We were in a position for a couple of years where the recapture was less than we were receiving from the state, but the projections are that in 2013-2014, we'd be back to actually sending more money than we're receiving," he said.
With the increase in local funding and decrease in state dollars, the district stands to see a $700,000 decrease in revenue, a result Fortenberry attributes to a projected 112-student enrollment decline.
"[If] property values go up, then state aid goes down," he said. "They offset and really the only increase or decrease deals with your enrollment."
Fortenberry also showed the impact of additional pennies on the tax rate, which is currently at $1.04 per $100 of property valuation.
A tax increase would require voter approval, and any additional pennies up to $1.06 would not be subject to recapture. Recapture payments would increase, however, for every penny up to the state maximum of $1.17. In that event, more than half of the $31 million raised by the maximum rate would be sent to the state.
Trustees took aim at the state after hearing the projections, with David Stolle noting that Plano is in "the reddest county of the reddest state" but somehow remains subject to what he called the "redistribution" of the Robin Hood school finance system.
"Property values increase, yet the district is not rewarded for its excellence," Stolle said, adding that constituents need to contact their legislators if they wish to see change in the system. "The district is, in fact, punished for its excellence, and those that are rewarded are the ones whose property values decline."
Nancy Humphrey also chimed in, saying legislators are already distracted by transportation and Medicaid funding issues and need to be reminded of the issues school districts like Plano are facing.
"They're getting ready to fund perhaps a billion [dollars] in education, but they're taking away from districts like ours to do that," she said.
Fortenberry also said federal funding -- which amounted to $2.5 million last year -- is projected to stay flat, though it could be reduced by $138,000 if the Build America Bonds rebate component of the district's federal funding tied to the sequester is not reinstated before August.
The board will likely hear a report on the district's estimated expenditures in April, Fortenberry said.
The board will vote to adopt its 2013-2014 budget, with updated figures, in June.