The Denton school board voted 6-0 Tuesday to adopt the district’s 2012-13 budget.
The general fund budget is projected to be more than $196.8 million — a 4.54 percent increase from the current year’s budget — and includes a 3 percent pay increase for the district’s more than 3,000 employees.
The new budget will take effect Sunday.
“I think, for me personally, being able to pass on an increase to the staff after two difficult years is gratifying,” said outgoing Superintendent Ray Braswell. “The teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and operating staff mean the world to me, and they deserve this increase and even more.”
District exempt and support staff have gone without a salary increase the last two years and teachers’ salaries have been frozen for a year, district officials have said.
The district intends to use savings incurred — a combined $2.9 million over the current and 2012-13 years — from moving in January from a self-insured medical plan to participation in the state-established TRS ActiveCare medical plan to fund a portion of the raises.
The decision to change medical plans resulted in the district’s contribution for health insurance decreasing, meaning increased costs will be passed on to employees.
Braswell has said the district will look to return a portion of that increase in health costs to employees in the form of the pay increases.
The raises make up more than $4 million of the more than $166 million budgeted for salaries, Braswell has said.
All employees will receive the 3 percent pay increase for the 2012-13 year, with a minimum $1,000 for teachers and a minimum $700 for other employees, according to district documents.
Teachers also receive step progression raises based on years of experience.
Employee salaries account for nearly 85 percent of the district’s general fund budget, district documents indicate.
Last summer during the 82nd legislative session, funding for public education was cut by more than $5 billion for the biennium, $1.4 billion of which was a cut to grant programs including full-day pre-kindergarten, after-school tutoring and dropout prevention.
The impact to the Denton school district was a loss of $11 million in state funding for the current year and a nearly $5 million cut for 2012-13, district officials have said.
District officials say they intend to use $2.7 million in reserves and revenue from a projected enrollment increase to offset the reduction in the 2012-13 year.
Having an idea of the state revenue being lost for 2012-13 ahead of time made planning the budget smoother, Braswell said.
“It wasn’t easy, but we did a majority of the hard work last year,” Braswell said. “We were prepared going into this year because we did a lot of the heavy lifting last year.”
Last year, the district eliminated 232 positions through its early resignation program, retirements and general resignations, among other cuts.
Glenna Harris, school board vice president, echoed Braswell’s statements and added that the board feels good about the upcoming year.
District officials built the budget based on projections that the district will see a nearly 4 percent increase in enrollment and an estimated $350 million increase in taxable property values.
Braswell said changes will be made to the budget as needed. The district will have a clearer picture of revenue generated by property tax values next month and student enrollment in September.
District officials have said they don’t intend to change the $1.53 per $100 valuation property tax rate. The 2012-13 tax rate is slated to be set in September.
The certified values are scheduled to be released on July 25.
Other areas of the adopted overall budget include the debt service budget, which is projected to total more than $47 million in expenditures and draw more than $49.4 million in local revenue.
Board members have said they could look at using a projected surplus to buy down debt.
Estimates for the 2012-13 child nutrition budget are expected to balance out at more than $9.1 million, a more than 3 percent increase from the current budget.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .