RISD Trustees Approve Budget With Increased Teacher Pay, School Closures, Lower Anticipated Tax Rate


Finalizing a budget planning process that began 11 months ago, RISD Trustees approved the district’s 2024-25 budget at the June 6 regular meeting. The approved operating budget is based on an anticipated state-set operating tax rate of $0.7899, a reduction from the current year rate and the lowest level since 1993.

The adopted operating budget includes a $27.2 million deficit that will be funded through one-time use of the district’s fund balance, and also includes $12.8 million in reductions and efficiencies, realized through school consolidations as part of Project RightSize, and additional central and support cuts. The budget includes an aggressive raise and compensation package for veteran teachers to retain and attract experienced educators.  

The school consolidations and operating reductions stemmed from recommendations of the Community Budget Steering Committee (CBSC), which was created in July 2023to assist the district with prioritizing limited resources and decisions for 2024-25 budget planning. The CBSC made nine total recommendations in December of 2023, and the 2024-25 budget includes three of them. The other six will be considered as part of future budget planning.

“This budget process has been bittersweet,” said RISD Superintendent Tabitha Branum. “The clear highlight is being able to finally reward our experienced teachers at levels they deserve and that positions our district among the most appealing in North Texas in attracting experienced, talented educators.”

“Unfortunately, this budget also includes closing the doors of four elementary campuses among our operating reductions and efficiencies, which has been highly disruptive for students, parents, staff, and neighborhoods across the district. As the costs of operating a school district continue to rise due to ongoing inflation, it’s important to keep reminding our stakeholders that we have not received a per-pupil funding increase in the basic student allotment from the state legislature since before the pandemic – six years. This budget continues our work to utilize the district’s limited resources consistent with our North Star Goal of student academic growth.”

Click here to learn more about budget planning discussions, including the factors impacting district revenue and expenditures.

Highlights of the adopted 2024-25 operating budget include:

  • The budget does not include any additional per-student revenue from the Texas legislature. Lawmakers have not increased the basic per-student allotment to public school districts since before the pandemic (2019). The state has had a historically-high budget surplus in recent years, and has set up a school funding system that funnels the benefit of additional operating tax dollars paid by RISD property owners due to increased home/property values to the state of Texas, not the local school district.
  • The debt service tax rate (the portion of the property tax rate that finances voter-approved bonds) remains unchanged at $0.35 for the 9th year.
  • The 2024-25 budget is the 5th consecutive deficit budget adopted by RISD.
  • School districts in Texas are funded based on the attendance of students enrolled. RISD has lost more than 2,500 students since the pandemic, and continued enrollment decline is expected. The 2024-25 budget is based on a projected enrollment decline of 726 students, to 36,359.
  • The budget includes continued funding for RISD’s local optional homestead exemption – an optional tax break that the district provides taxpaying homeowners. RISD is one of the three remaining school districts out of the 37 in Dallas and Collin counties to still offer the optional tax break, at a cost of $7.8 million.

Watch the June 6 Board meeting presentation and public hearing of the 2024-25 budget and proposed tax rate.

Watch the June 6  discussion and vote on the 2024-25 budget.

Share this post

RISD logo

Trustees Reorganize, Discuss MAP Data, Teacher Survey, Cell Phone Policy

At the June 6 board work session, RISD shared two end of year performance metrics with trustees, including end of year MAP results and data from RISD’s annual climate survey of teachers, which informed a discussion about the district’s cellphone-free policy for students. In addition, trustees were sworn in and reorganized for 2024-25.

STAAR testing logo

STAAR Results Now Available

Spring 2024 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results are expected to be available to parents on June 7 and June 14.