PISD budget picture coming into focus

PISD_Sign2Paris Independent School District trustees got a clearer view of next year’s budget Monday.

The numbers were not dramatically changed from what they saw in February. Revenue is now projected at $34.23 million – about $200,000 than estimated last month. That includes $21.57 million in state revenue, $10.55 million from property tax and other local sources and $2.1 million from the federal government.

Teacher raises are expected to cost $266,035 more next year, with aides making $34,574 more. There are other categories to address, including hourly workers and administrators. Superintendent Paul Jones said the district has a pay scale for administrators, but it does not automatically increase like it does for instructors. Other districts in the area do have step increases, and he would like to see if Paris could adopt something similar.

Salaries are the only expenditure point that has been estimated so far, so Business Manager Tish Holleman said there is still a fair amount of “tweaking” to do. Administrators have gone through their existing budgets to correct things that may need to change while keeping the bottom line steady, she said. Another round will come in April to request new funds.

Expenditures are currently estimated at $34.52 million, a $296,000 shortfall. The operations side of the budget actually shows a $58,000 surplus, but the interest and sinking fund – which pays for the district’s debt – shows a deficit of $335,000.

PISD has an “artificially low” I&S tax rate, Holleman said. Ideally, the debt side of the tax rate should raise all the needed funds to make debt payments. Paris ISD uses part of its operating funds to offset the debt costs.

PISD also faces a nearly $300,000 bill from the state for a 1.5-percent charge the Legislature put on school districts to cover a cost of living increase for retired teachers, known as Rider 71. Holleman estimated the state will provide $220,000 toward that, leaving Paris with $100,000 to $150,000, depending on what is done with salaries.

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Jeff Parish Jeff Parish is a high school English teacher and journalist. He has worked for the Greenville Herald-Banner, Dallas Morning News, The Paris News and Galveston County Daily News, among others. For comments, feedback or suggestions, you can email him at jeff@eparistexas.com.