MFISD budget impacted by proposed bill addressing recapture

By Nathan Hendrix
Staff Writer

As the time approaches for Marble Falls Independent School District to pass an operating budget for the 2019-2020 school year, the status of House Bill 3 is making it difficult for administrators to put solid numbers on paper.

HB3, a comprehensive school finance reform bill, invests more state money in public education by increasing the basic allotment by $890 per student and lowering the state recapture rate by appoximately 38 percent.

Although the bill passed nearly unanimously in the House, the State Senate is still mulling over the House Bill and their own education bill, Senate Bill 4. Differences have yet to be resolved, so MFISD is considering all options for budget proposals.

We're waiting on key pieces of information,” MFISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen said. “It's hard to project what they're going to do because the legislature is coming at this in a way that's different from what I've seen in the last three sessions.”

The lower recapture rate would provide the most significant relief for MFISD. In the 2018-2019 adjusted budget, MFISD paid over $7.8 million to the state. Under the current law and projected property value increases, the figure would skyrocket to over $11 million for next school year.

If HB3 passes as is, MFISD would be able to retain over $5.6 million in recapture, according to projections provided by Melissa Lafferty, executive director of finance.

That's pretty exciting,” she said. “If House Bill 3 stays as is, we would be adopting a $1.1 million surplus.”

If the current law stays in effect, however, the mounting recapture causes a budget deficit for next school year. The deficit would exist despite rising property values and prior to salary increases for teachers. . . .

Find more on this story and comprehensive coverage of the MFISD school board action in the Friday, May 3 issue of The Highlander. To offer a comment or news tip, email nathan@highlandernews.com.

 

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