The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees discussed the 87th Texas Legislative Session impact on the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget and reviewed an actuarial study pertaining to the self-funded employee health insurance plan for 2022, during the district’s meeting Tuesday.
Chief Financial Officer Megan Bradley provided a general review of how several House bills significantly impact budgetary planning.
Bradley directed most of her attention to the revenue and spending changes in House Bill 1525, which specifically relate to the district’s public finance system.
Bradley said the bill restores gifted and talented weight, provides reimbursement for the winter storm, and bans districts from levying a maintenance and operations tax rate intended to create a surplus to pay debt services.
“It can also provide through this bill a fine to us if we choose to try to use our M&O tax rate revenue to pay debt service,” Bradley said. “It’s called a tax swap.”
Bradley said the legislation also grants the state education commissioner increased authority to reduce Foundation School Program allotments when districts take on tax rates that exceed allowable rates.
“(The bill) also gives the commissioner a lot more authority, which we’ve seen in the past legislative session and now with this one also, that he can reduce our allotments under certain situations,” Bradley said.
Bradley said the bill expands College, Career & Military Readiness outcomes bonuses related to receiving an associate degree.
“This should be a very big positive for Killeen ISD because the way the bill was written was talking about how many received their associate degree within so long after graduating, so we have them actually before they graduate, which is a pretty positive thing for us,” Bradley said.
Bradley discussed how the legislation loosens the grip on how the district spends some of its money.
The bill allows compensatory education funds to be spent on instructional coaches, attendance officers, and programs to teach managing emotions, creating positive relationships, and teaching responsible decision-making.The bill would expand school safety allotments for counselors, social workers, and restorative discipline.
“We’re able to spend more on the social emotional learning piece, which is important,” Bradley said.
The bill means schools no longer have to reserve Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, postpones reading academy completion date until 2023, and allows non-certified teachers to be eligible for teacher incentive allotment bonuses.
Also Tuesday, the board reviewed the results of an actuarial study pertaining to scoring options for partially self-funded employee health insurance for 2022.
The board also approved through unanimous vote a memorandum of understanding with Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children and a memorandum of understanding with Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center for School Behavior Health Program for the 2021-2022 school year.