The Frisco ISD Board of Trustees approved a spending plan this week that prioritizes classroom teachers, campus-based resources and other support systems to address student growth in the 2021-22 school year.
The $651.3 million general operating budget is based on a projected enrollment of 65,936 students – the more conservative, low-growth estimate from demographers – and combined tax rate of $1.288 per $100 property tax valuation, an estimated decrease of more than two cents from 2020.
While the tax rate won’t be formally approved until September, total taxable values in Frisco ISD are expected to rise 5.1% over the past year, prompting a state-mandated compression of the District’s maintenance and operations (M&O) property tax rate to limit revenue growth. The debt service portion of the tax rate is expected to hold steady at $0.27 for another year thanks in part to near-historically low interest rates.
The approved budget provides for the addition of 207 new staff members, most of whom will work at the new Emerson High School, which opens in August. The remainder of new staff will help address class size across the District, support future-ready learning and ensure efficient and effective operations as FISD continues to grow.
More than 82% of the general budget goes toward payroll, and recruiting, retaining and supporting staff remains a top priority.
In 2020-21, the District provided a 1.5% pay increase in anticipation of a recession. This year, to remain competitive with the local pay market, trustees approved a 3% of midpoint raise for employees not on the teacher pay scale. Teachers and other staff on the teacher pay scale will receive a $2,150 pay increase, which amounts to 3.56% for the average teacher.
In addition, the beginning teacher salary will increase from $54,900 to $56,500 for the 2021-22 school year, and the new hire salary guide will be adjusted for teachers, librarians and nurses to accommodate the higher beginning salary.
Additional salary adjustments were made to remain competitive with the local job market for comparable jobs. The minimum wage for certain positions, including bus monitors and café cooks and cashiers, will increase to $12 an hour, and pay for current employees in those positions will be adjusted to align with the updated pay scale.
To further recognize the efforts of staff who innovated, pivoted and persevered through one of the most trying times in education, the budget includes a Coronavirus Appreciation and Recognition of Effort Stipend (CARES) payment for all employees who supported the FISD community over the past year and who remain committed to the District and community moving forward. This one-time payment will be equal to the greater of 1% of base wages or $250.
The budget also includes a provision to create an onsite employee health clinic, which will offer free care to employees and low-cost care to their dependents. The District plans to convert the current athletic office, located at 6950 Stadium Lane, into the health clinic once athletic staff move into the District’s new swimming facility, which remains under construction and is expected to be complete in October.
Funds to cover additional staff and operational costs of the new natatorium are included in the budget, along with provisions for FISD to launch its own year-round club swim program. The club program is expected to generate revenue to offset costs and will increase opportunities for students to benefit from the use of FISD pools while preparing to participate in FISD high school swim and dive programs.
Given continued uncertainties associated with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget also maintains a small surplus to provide flexibility as all students return to in-person instruction and additional needs are identified.
Review the 2021-22 budget book for additional information on the District’s finances and planned spending for the coming school year.