Natalia ISD adopts FY 21-22 budgets, eyes tax rate

The Natalia ISD Board of Trustees adopted a balanced $12.8 million General Fund budget for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year and heard details about possible tax rates during its meeting held last Monday, June 28.
Balanced Food Service Fund and surplus Debt Service Fund budgets were also adopted.
FY 21-22 budgets
The General Fund revenue is projected to be $12,615,808, consisting of $2,886,969 in local funds, $9,608,839 in state funds, and $120,000 in federal funds.
Projected expenditures are also $12,615,808, leaving the district with a balanced budget to begin the fiscal year.
Executive Director of Finance Norma Friddle said the budget includes a small amount of additional funds provided to the district after round three of the state aid template was released. That money was allocated to Special Education and Career and Technical Education programs
The Food Service Fund also balanced with revenues and expenditures expected to be $917,800.
“Now the good news about the food service fund is we are able to keep those higher summer rates that we’re able to enjoy during the summer,” Friddle said. “They are continuing at least through December 31, so that is actually bringing our revenue back to the black for the upcoming school year.”
Friddle had previously projected a $90,000 deficit factoring in lower rates.
“I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, but I still do anticipate us being in the hole maybe $40,00 to $50,000 for the current year,” Friddle said.
The Debt Service Fund projects a surplus with $1,066,715 in revenue and $857,165 in expenditures, leaving a net positive of $209,550.
Friddle said she would come back to the Board in July or August with possible ways to use that surplus, including paying off principal debt.
“We’ll come back and talk more about how we can pay that debt down so that way we can keep that tax rate the same,” Friddle said.
Budget line items exceeding $25k
Friddle provided the Board with a current list of single line items in the General Fund budget that exceed $25,000.
“What I wanted to do this year was bring those items to your attention ahead of time so that we can be proactive and so that we’re able to pay the bills once they come around,” Friddle said.
Friddle said that many of the items were recurring bills for things like insurance and software licenses that must be renewed every year.
“This is just to make sure that we have transparency, so you see those items in detail right off the bat as you approve the budget,” Superintendent Harry Piles said.
Friddle added that she may come back to the Board with additional requests later if the need develops.
“We’re just trying to get as much as we know at this point in time approved as part of the budget process,” Friddle said.
An Almendarez – Besa motion to approve the list presented passed 5-0.
FY 21-22 tax rate
Next year’s tax rate can be set as low as $1.29 per $100 of valuation, or high as $1.38 per $100 without triggering an election for voter approval.
A tax rate set at $1.38 consists of a $1.0517 Maintenance & Operations Tax, which funds the district’s daily maintenance and operations costs, and a $.3295 Interest & Sinking Tax, which funds payments of debt incurred from the construction of schools and facilities.
The total appraised value of all property within the district’s boundaries rose to $513,366,936, while the total taxable value increased to $325,704,246.
“These values here are what drive the rate of the Maintenance and Operations tax rate,” Friddle said. “We will know very soon what [the Texas Education Agency] is going to give as our maximum compressed rate.
“So when those are published, once certified values are out, I’ll be able to say for sure what that M&O portion of the rate’s going to be.”
If the Board adopts a tax rate of $1.38 per $100 valuation, taxes on the average residence will increase by an average of $294.98.
“[The tax rate] could be as high as that, but I don’t anticipate it being that high,” Friddle said.
An archived stream of the meeting can be viewed on the Natalia ISD YouTube page, while documents discussed and approved during the meeting can be found in the School Board section of the NISD website.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer