Fort Bend ISD approves proposed budget
By DIANE TEZENO
Fort Bend ISD board members made no modifications to the district’s proposed $477.5 budget despite opposition from several residents and a state official to various aspects of the 2008-09 budget.
Board members gave their “OK” to the budget despite a $9.9 million deficit, and also gave the green light to several major expenditure increases, including employee pay raises.
The approved budget includes a 3 percent pay increase on base salary for all district employees, bringing starting salaries for teachers to $44,000.
The newly approved budget also includes $5.1 million for additional staffing, $1.2 million in TASB proposed equity adjustments and $2.26 million in increases for vehicle fuel inflation, among other expenditures.
Prior to the budget’s approval, several speakers voiced opposition to aspects of the budget, including Texas State Rep. Charlie Howard. . .
. . . Board members listened to several other comments from the public on the proposed budget, including
former school board candidate and Fresno resident Rodrigo Carreon.
“Some of our staff here have been working 23 years and never got a raise,” said Carreon.
Carreon questioned why funds from the district were going to the state.
The Fresno resident recommended the district look at alternative fuels such as natural gas versus diesel to save on fuel expenses.
A member of the Fort Bend Employee Federation encouraged the board to improve pay increases for classified employees and teachers above TASB recommendations.
“Equity adjustments and pay increases won’t lift our employees above the poverty level,” said the federation member, echoing a sentiment shared by an earlier speaker.
Richmond resident, Chris Calvin, said he would like to see the board take a closer look at the fund balance.
“Why with all of this money can’t we balance the budget without a tax increase this year,” said Calvin, citing open record information showing the district with a $93.8 million fund balance.
Fort Bend resident Carlos Kane told board members that he did not want to see his property taxes go up.
He expressed strong opposition to board members for proposing the .02 cent tax increase and encouraged board members to remedy the budget deficit through monies in the fund balance rather than by increasing taxes on homeowners.
“I have no objection to teacher’s getting their raises, they should have gotten them a long time ago,” said Kane.
“What I have an objection to is the $100 million dollars that you all had stashed in a trust fund,” said Kane
(follow this link for the full FB Sun story)
2009 FBISD Tax Hearing (On YouTube)
CLICK HERE FOR THE 2009 FBISD CONTROVERSIAL TAX HEARING (YES THEY ARE RAISING THEM AGAIN--see petition of over 500 district taxpayers asking for board accountability) --In case anyone missed it they raised the property tax rate again (4th time) in 2010 and more than likely will do so again in 2011 facing another projected 15-20 million dollar budget deficit, according to some media reports. ***NEW*** ..Petition TO STOP THE GSTC (Global Science Museum being planned at the district central office--near $30 million dollar project that superintendent Jenney is pushing): http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthegcst/ (see update below on this apparently ending this project after 2 years)