Budget Planning – Trustees Discuss Non-General Funds, State Healthcare Increases

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Continuing the 2024-025 budget planning process at the May 16 work session, RISD trustees discussed projections and factors impacting child nutrition, debt service, and grants, along with increases in employee healthcare costs. Highlights include:

Child Nutrition Fund

  • RISD kitchen staff are hourly employees and would receive a pay increase to $15/hour in order to remain competitive with industry.
  • The cafeteria meal price, set with federal guidance, project to be unchanged. Meal prices last increased in 2019-20.
  • The district proposes to use one time funds in the child nutrition fund to purchase new kitchen equipment in 2024-25.

Debt Service Fund

  • The debt service portion of RISD’s overall property tax rate (known as the I & S, or interest and sinking fund rate) will again remain unchanged at $0.35, the same level since 2016.
  • Together with the operating portion of the property tax rate (known as the M & O, or maintenance and operations rate), RISD’s total 2023 property tax rate of $1.1431 is at its lowest point in 33 years.
  • Funds generated by the debt service portion of the property tax rate may only be used to pay off bonds and may not legally be used for any other purpose.
  • RISD has issued all but $150 million in bonds from the voter-approved Bond 2021 package. $125 million is expected to be issued later this year, and the remaining $25 million issued in 2025.
  • The district’s stand-alone bond rating of Aaa from Moody’s is the highest available to Texas school districts, which contributes to the most favorable market rates available when issuing bonds.

Grant Funding

  • Total grant funding is projected to remain relatively flat in 2024-25.
  • Federal IDEA grant funding helps fund services to RISD student diagnosed with special needs. While the number of students requiring services continues to increase, the grant funding is not.

Cost of Employee Healthcare

  • Healthcare plan options are offered to RISD employees through the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and approximately 55% of RISD employees utilize TRS for healthcare coverage.
  • TRS has announced that costs will increase an average of 11.2% for 2024-25 across plan types and coverage levels.
  • TRS healthcare plan costs have increased 7 of the last 8 years.
  • RISD currently contributes $313/mo per covered employee to offset healthcare plan costs, and trustees received information about the operating budget impact of increasing district contribution levels

Trustees are expected to take action on the 2024-25 budget in June.

Learn more about RISD budget planning

Watch the May 16 work session discussion

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