THE BUDGETING PROCESS AND FUNDING
Dripping Springs ISD is committed to sound financial management through integrity, prudent stewardship, planning, accountability, full disclosure and open communication. Federal, state, and local guidelines govern the budget development process. The annually adopted budget includes the General Fund, Debt Service Fund, and Child Nutrition Fund.
DSISD’s proposed budget is prepared by the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, with the participation of campus and department stakeholders within the provision of the Strategic Plan and state-mandated guidelines for programs.
Dripping Springs ISD builds its budget priorities around its vision and mission, while also meeting the challenges accompanied by student growth. In following those priorities, the district’s charge is to monitor spending in a way that results in the most efficient use of resources, within the limitations and mandates placed upon public schools by statute and regulations. A tight alignment is maintained between the overall budget and the district/school planning that helps DSISD be more efficient in meeting established priorities.
The budget includes four basic segments for review and evaluation:
- Personnel Needs/Costs
- Operational Costs
- Capital and other non-project costs
The budget process includes Board of Trustee budget workshops for the development of each segment, which provide for citizen feedback regarding the process, and allow for sufficient time for the Board of Trustees to address the strategic plan and fiscal issues. The proposed budget and all preliminary budgetary information is posted on the district's website for public view.
A Quick Look at Budget Development
Because Dripping Springs ISD is designated as a Chapter 41 district by the state of Texas, the district’s budget is impacted by mandatory recapture payments to the state. The amount of recapture is determined by the relationship of the district’s overall property wealth to the number of students served based on Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA). Due to state funding formulas and the methods for funding public education in Texas, most school districts – including DSISD – are capped in the additional revenue received when local property values increase.
DSISD’s recapture payment history can be viewed here.
The Texas Education Code establishes the legal basis for the budget development in school districts. These codes require that the District prepare a budget by the date set by the state board of education, currently June 19 for districts with a June 30 fiscal year end. The code further requires that the president of the Board of Trustees call a public meeting, giving 10 days public notice in a newspaper for the adoption of the district budget and posting a comparative proposed budget to the District’s website.
The Board of Trustees must adopt the prepared budget no later than June 30.
A school district’s tax rate consists of two parts: Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and Debt Service/Interest & Sinking fund (I&S). Maintenance and Operations taxes fund the General Operating Fund, which pays for salaries, supplies, utilities, insurance, equipment and the other costs of day-to-day operations. The Debt Service tax pays off school bonds, somewhat like paying off the mortgage on a house. Revenue from the Debt Service tax rate can be used only to retire bonds sold for specific purposes: construction, renovations, buses, land, technology, and the cost of issuing bonds.
The District may not adopt a tax rate until after the District receives the certified appraisal roll as required by the Property Tax Code, typically on July 25. The District shall adopt its tax rate no later than Sept. 30. The tax rate is determined based on the amount of budgeted expenditures allocated to the General Fund, which accounts for operating expenses to serve the district’s growing student population (M&O), and the amount of money needed to meet payments on the district’s debt (I&S). Actual tax bills received by homeowners are the product of the tax rate and the appraised property value.