The Aledo ISD Board of Trustees has adopted a lower tax rate for the fifth year in a row at a meeting on Monday, Aug. 28. The 2023-2024 tax rate will be more than 16 cents lower than the previous year, bringing the five-year total reduction to nearly 39 cents or a 24.3% decrease since 2018-2019.
“We talked about this quite extensively during the Aledo ISD Bond 2023 process that we anticipated that the district’s overall tax rate would be lowered pretty significantly,” Aledo ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn said, “so we are grateful to be able to lower our tax rate by such a large amount.”
Over the last four years, the overall tax rate for Aledo ISD has been lowered by $0.2271 as Maintenance and Operations tax rates have been compressed after the passing of House Bill 3 in 2019. Adding this year’s decrease of 16 cents, the district’s total M&O tax rate decrease is $0.3875 in five years. The previous overall district tax rate for 2022-2023 was $1.3679, and the Board adopted the new tax rate of $1.2075 for 2023-2024.
The budget also includes a one-time payment of 2% of the market median salary/pay range midpoint for all employees that will be made on October 13, a salary step increase for every teacher (minimum $300 and possibly more depending on years of service), and an increase of $25 per month toward the district’s medical insurance premium contribution for staff. Trustees also increased the minimum bus driver pay to $22 per hour with related targeted pay adjustments for current driving staff.
“We have the very best staff in the state, so we’d always like to do more,” Board President Forrest Collins said. “It has been a very challenging budget year since we did not get the support we were hoping for from our state legislature; however, we remain committed to supporting our staff any way we can. And because we have always done as much as we could, we are now able to stay competitive with staff compensation even in a tough budget year.”
The Aledo ISD Board of Trustees has had an ongoing commitment over the last several years to be more competitive with compensation, which has led to the district’s starting teacher salary ($60,200 for 2023-2024) being among the most competitive starting salaries in the DFW metroplex. Over the last six years, trustees have approved anywhere from a 3% to 7% raise for employees, including a 4% raise each of the last two years.
Trustees have also ardently advocated for Aledo ISD and Texas public schools in the Texas Legislature. Because of the lack of a significant funding increase during the most recent legislative session, Aledo ISD, like most school districts in Texas, passed a deficit budget on Monday for the 2023-2024 school year. After it became evident over the last couple of months that the legislature would not be providing the expected additional funding, AISD began working with all campuses and departments to decrease their annual operational budgets by 10% while identifying additional savings where possible. The reductions will not affect staffing or require the elimination of any programs.
Trustees acknowledged during Monday’s special board meeting that they could amend the budget if the Texas Legislature increases public school funding during an upcoming special session.
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