The adoption of the 2019–20 Leander ISD budget and a review of the district’s busiest-ever summer for construction were agenda highlights for the August 22 Board of Trustees meeting as LISD welcomed students back to school.
2019–20 budget locks in increased teacher compensation, tax relief
The Board formally adopted a 2019–20 budget with significant compensation raises for teachers and staff as well as tax relief.
The general operating budget is more than a 6% increase from the 2018–19 budget. Major factors for the increase include the need for additional personnel due to the projected enrollment growth and the opening of Larkspur Elementary School, as well as the pay increases to teacher and employee salaries and employer contribution to cover healthcare premiums.
“This budget reflects our commitment to our two most important resources: teachers and students,” said Board President Trish Bode. “Investing in both of them while doing what we can to offer relief to taxpayers is a testament to the administration and board’s hard work .”
LISD already grants $10,000 tax exemptions to disabled individuals and individuals age 65 or older. Trustees approved an additional $3,000 tax exemption for both of these groups. This action comes in addition to relief granted by the state with House Bill 3, which requires all districts to compress their tier one tax rate.
In calculating the tax rate for Leander ISD, the operating budget is based on the maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate of $0.97, down from $1.04. For the second consecutive year, the Board adopted a quarter-penny reduction to the interest and sinking (I&S) tax rate, setting the rate at $0.4675.
Enrollment surges as LISD opens new elementary school, transportation facility
The first-week enrollment data suggests LISD will once again be among the state’s fastest growing districts as the district opens its 27th elementary school and a new North Transportation Facility.
For the first time, LISD’s student enrollment at the start of the year topped 40K (40,000), including 532 at Larkspur Elementary, the district’s newest school. To accommodate that rise in enrollment, Leander ISD now boasts 2,861 teachers.
Four campuses have new principals, including:
- Faubion Elementary School
- Reagan Elementary School
- Winkley Elementary School
- Four Points Middle School
The district also launched an online enrollment initiative as part of its new student information system (SIS), streamlining the process for families.
“It’s exciting to see the growth in our district reflected in the smiling faces of our students and families,” said Board Secretary Grace Barber-Jordan, M.Ed. “It’s clear we have an exceptional group of students that will make us proud this year.”
Busiest summer ever for construction brings upgrades to LISD campuses
Campuses across Leander ISD’s nearly 200 square miles were the beneficiaries of a record number of summer construction projects, resulting in security enhancements, facility additions and major maintenance renovations.
The district funded most of the projects through the 2017 bond, focused on upgrading security and technology across 43 schools while accommodating growth.
“It’s truly remarkable how much work was done in such a tight time frame,” said Board Vice President Aaron Johnson. “We are thankful that our taxpayers saw the value in investing in our growing community by overwhelmingly passing the 2017 bond.Our students deserve truly exceptional learning spaces that help them reach their full potential, and these projects only add to the excitement of having them back on campus.”