Waskom ISD trustees recently adopted a balanced budget and are set to adopt a proposed decreased tax rate on Sept. 9, Waskom ISD Superintendent Jimmy Cox said on Thursday.

Waskom ISD trustees adopted about an $11.9 million overall balanced budget last week.

This year’s budget came in at about $1.7 million more than the district’s 2018 adopted budget of about $10.3 million, largely due to the House Bill 3 legislation passed by lawmakers in June in an effort to reform the state’s controversial school finance system.

A small portion of the additional funding this year also came in from an increase in property values, Cox said.

“About 95% of the $1.7 million was HB 3 and the other 5% was an increase in certified property values,” he said.

The additional funding this year allowed the district to give raises across the board, Cox said.

“We were able to give raises to teachers and at-will employees, everyone except administration,” he said. “We were able to give the raises to admin from fund balance.”

Cox said the smallest raise anyone at the district saw was about $4,500.

This year’s budget also includes the purchase of a new bus and a new van for the transportation department, Cox said.

“This is a good budget in terms that we could put back about $300,000 to $500,000 in fund balance because of it,” he said. “We always adopt a balanced budget every year except for last year, when we adopted a deficit budget, but we were able to balance it out throughout the school year.”

The trustees are now set to adopt a proposed 8 cent decrease in the district’s tax rate, also largely due to HB 3.

As part of the landmark $11.6 billion HB 3 passed by the 86th legislature this summer, the state required districts to provide raises for teachers, provided an increase in state funding per student and reduced property taxes.

“Last year our tax rate was $1.43, made up of $1.04 on the maintenance and operations side and $0.39 on the interest and sinking side,” Cox said. “This year, the trustees are set to meet on Sept. 9 and adopt an 8 cent decrease in the tax rate, made up of $0.97 on the maintenance and operations side and $0.38 on the interest and sinking side, for a total tax rate of $1.35.”

With a decreased proposed tax rate of $1.35 per $100 of home value, a Waskom ISD homeowner with a $100,000 home would pay a tax bill of $1,350.