McKINNEY (July 10, 2013) — The McKinney ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the proposed MISD 2013-2014 budget during a public budget hearing held Tuesday, July 9. The new budget is based upon a higher tax rate that was previously approved by the board on June 25 and must now be approved by voters in a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to be held Sept. 21.
The tax rate increase from $1.54 per $100 of assessed home value to $1.67 per $100 of assessed home value was approved by the board to balance the budget and to help compensate for more than $15 million in state funding cuts the district has experienced since the Texas legislature eliminated $5.3 billion from public education in 2011.
When that happened, McKinney ISD lost more than $11 million in funding for the 2011-2012 school year and was forced to cut 134 jobs, including just over 4 percent of its teachers and 11 percent of its administration/support staff positions. The District considered cost-cutting options to minimize the negative impact on student learning – such as asking coaches to obtain commercial driver’s licenses so they could drive teams to and from sporting events and requiring administrators to substitute teach. The combined cuts saved millions of dollars, but again in 2012-2013, the District faced more reductions in state funding – $4.4 million this time.
The news out of Austin this spring that lawmakers would restore $3.4 billion to public education offered some hope that the District might see a significant recovery of lost funding, but the reality is that McKinney ISD’s share is only about $4.3 million over the next two years.
“The 82nd legislative session cut our funding by more than $15 million over the biennium,” said McKinney ISD Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy, “and the most recent legislature only restored 27.5 percent of those cuts – which leaves us with about $11 million less revenue than what we had previously.”
“So, either we maintain our current programs, or we are going to have to reduce how we deliver services to our students. We've got to make up the difference, and that's why we adopted a budget that is going to require us to go to the voters for a tax increase," he said.
Revenue can be increased to a maximum of $1.17 by calling, and the patrons passing, a TRE. Texas law allows the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate to be set above $1.04 if a majority of voters in the district approve the increase. If the tax rate is set above $1.04, a TRE is automatically triggered. The M&O tax rate of $1.17 approved by the Board of Trustees on June 25 combined with the Principal and Interest Obligation tax rate of 50 cents resulted in the new rate of $1.67 that will be put to the vote on Sept. 21.
Without the tax increase, McKinney ISD will be forced to make deep budget cuts to account for the current $10.7 million revenue shortfall. Those cuts include:
• Reduction of personnel in all areas
• Reduction of student support areas
• Increase in student/teacher ratios
• Reduction in all extra-curricular areas
• Reduction in CTE and G/T offerings
The District anticipates cuts of approximately 290 teachers and administration/support staff to meet the budget deficit should the TRE not pass.
“There were several districts that received almost a full restoration of funding,” said Dr. Kennedy. “McKinney ISD was not one of those districts, which is unfortunate.”
For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About McKinney ISD
One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,000 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, one alternative school and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at mckinneyisd.net.