Austin ISD Budget: $1.4 Billion
Trustees approve budget for 2018-19 school year
The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday night to approve a $1.4 billion budget for the upcoming school year – about $11.9 million less than last year. Key provisions include: funding an across-the-board raise of 1.5% for district employees, at a cost of $8.1 million; funding for 75 nurses and 48 clinical assistants across 130 campuses (meaning not every campus will be staffed with a full-time nurse, and nearly half of the campuses with on-site mental health centers will lose their therapists); five more AISDPD officers, an officer specializing in mental health, and other security measures at a cost of $1.7 million. But the threat of the state's recapture school finance system continues to loom over the budget. AISD will pay a record $670 million to fill state coffers next year, an increase of $135.7 million over last year. Between recapture payments and shrinking enrollment, the district will have to pay about $30 million of the new budget from district reserves. The board approved the budget 7-1, with Trustee Ted Gordon opposed. Gordon said he couldn't support a budget until more time had been devoted to discussing district priorities. "I think we need to particularly prioritize educational opportunity and address disparities," he said. "I don't think we've done that work and I'm not prepared to vote for a budget until we have."