Richardson, Texas – In an early June decision that reverberated throughout the financial quarters of North Texas, the Board of Trustees for Richardson Independent School District (RISD) chose to ratify a fiscal plan for the 2023-24 year that allocates $407.7 million, despite projecting a close to $15 million deficit.
Richardson ISD has voted a budget with a deficit for fourth consecutive year
This marks the fourth consecutive year that RISD has found itself adopting a deficit budget, as corroborated by information available on the district’s official online portal. The previous fiscal blueprint for 2022-23 noted a considerably heftier deficit of $25.9 million.
Previously, officials within RISD had put forward a forecast positing a deficit nearing $16 million for the fiscal year 2023-24. This was a predicament which led the Richardson ISD, in cooperation with numerous other school districts in the northern reaches of Texas, to urge an increase in state financial support for public education in May.
This appeal was directed towards adjusting for inflation’s incessant climb. However, the state’s legislative apparatus appears to be redirecting its efforts towards the establishment of a school voucher system, designed to assist parents in affording private education, all the while eschewing an augmentation in public school funding.
The newly approved budget bears a $14.8 million deficit that is slated to be offset by tapping into the district’s fund balance for a one-time usage. This financial resource can be likened to an everyday savings or checking account and is typically employed to meet monthly district expenses. These include payroll and utilities, and come into play when property tax collections and state funding prove inadequate to meet the totality of operational costs.
Richardson ISD 2023-24 budget includes incentives and pay hike for teachers and staff
Although the budget manifests an undeniable deficit, it isn’t devoid of certain increments pertaining to the realm of teacher compensation and incentives. Fresh entrants into the teaching field are set to receive an initial annual compensation of $60,000. Moreover, educators deemed to be catering to “critical needs” are in line to receive stipends as high as $6,000, contingent on the nature of their role. These “critical needs” encapsulate areas such as secondary mathematics and science, special education, and bilingual classroom instruction.
The budget also reflects favorable prospects for returning educators. Those with prior teaching experience will enjoy a pay hike ranging from 5.75% to 8%, with the specific percentage being experience-dependent. The nonteaching staff, returning to their roles in the new fiscal year, can anticipate a pay raise within the bracket of 3% to 6%.
“This budget achieves our highest priority heading into the budget planning process—retaining and rewarding our teachers and staff,” RISD Superintendent Tabitha Branum said in a news release. “We have made strides to reduce spending in ways that don’t impact the quality of our classroom instruction and will continue with those efforts.”
The RISD board of trustees also voted to create a community budget steering committee, which will assist the district in prioritizing resources and guiding decisions for FY 2024-25 budget planning. Those interested in serving on the committee or nominating someone can do so through this online form.
RISD’s FY 2023-24 will start July 1 and end June 30, 2024. More information on the RISD budget is available on the district’s website.
Other North Texas school districts also voted budgets with deficits, but include teacher pay hike
According to our previous reports, Dallas ISD voted its budget recently. The budget for fiscal year 2023-24 is 7% larger and includes pay raise for teachers. Fort Worth ISD also voted new budget with deficit. Fort Worth ISD teachers and staff will also see slight pay hike which is experience-dependent.