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Killeen ISD budgets for expansion

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Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:19 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Jackie Stone

Killeen Daily Herald

The Killeen Independent School District school board will be called on Tuesday to approve a tax rate and proposed budget for 2010-11. As currently presented, it projects district earnings of $374.8 million will outpace expenditures of $354.7 million.

Both the projected revenue and expenses in the 2010-2011 budget show an increase over the 2009-10 budget adopted last year thanks to a growing student population and state funding formula based on enrollment. KISD's enrollment peaked at 37,511 students last year, and the district expects to see a peak of 40,609 students in the school year that began last week.

"We're in a very good financial situation because of efficiency and good financial planning," said Superintendent Robert Muller on Friday.

The district does not plan to raise the property tax rate of $1.14 per $100 of property valuation.

A public hearing will be held before the board votes Tuesday.

$16.9 million surplus

The budget that must be approved Tuesday night is split into three areas - the general fund, school nutrition and debt service.

In the proposed $321.3 million general fund budget, which covers the majority of expenses including salaries, benefits and operating expenses, the district expects to have a surplus of $16.9 million, according to budget figures.

The district's chief financial officer, Megan Bradley, said the district plans to transfer that money to capital improvement and capital project funds. Part of the money will go toward capital improvements such as basic maintenance at the district's more than 50 campuses, while the bulk of it will be put toward future school building projects.

"We're trying to fully fund the strategic facilities plan," Bradley said.

The plan has not been approved yet this year, but it is a five-year plan that includes some current building projects - such as the district's Elementary 32 on Bunny Trail and the Career Academy - and may include future projects such as another elementary school.

The proposed general fund budget is an increase of roughly $14 million over the 2009-10 budget approved last year.

Salary increase

The biggest area of increase comes from a 2-percent increase to employee salaries tied to the midpoint salary as well as an additional $2 million in the budget to increase the district's portion of health insurance fees for employees.

The school board voted last week to stay with its current provider of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Employee costs will increase dependent on their plan, but the district's contribution will increase. The increase for health benefits will be $30, Muller said.

According to budget figures, the district plans to spend 64 percent of the budget directly on instruction, a category that includes books and classroom materials as well as the salaries and benefits of teachers, aides, libraries and special education staff.

Other areas of increase include school transportation and extra curricular activiies, where a school board decision to help offset the cost of uniforms for participants cost a relatively small $250,000, Bradley said.

The projected school nutrition budget of $19.1 million also shows an increase of around $1.3 million over the 2009-10 budget. An increase in food costs caused the jump, Bradley said, but the district's self-supporting food services department has enough surplus to absorb the cost.

The public hearing and school board meeting to approve the budget will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the Board Room of the Administration Building at 200 N. W. S. Young Drive in Killeen.

Contact Jackie Stone at jstone@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcityeditor.

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