DISD Makes Cuts, Budget Still Over by $152M

Dallas ISD
Dallas ISD Logo | Image by Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD’s next budget is lower than last year’s and boasts no tax rate hike, but it will still fall short by $152 million when accounting for liabilities.

Last month, Dallas ISD trustees adopted a $1.88 billion general fund budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. This amounts to just over $2.42 billion when food service and debt payments are added, leaving an estimated deficit of around $152 million.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, a budget proposal was ready in mid-April, giving board members more time to deliberate than usual. Trustees unanimously approved it, with the exceptions of Trustee Maxie Johnson, who was absent, and Trustee Joyce Foreman, who abstained.

With neighboring districts having to grapple with school closures to help balance their budgets, Dallas ISD made considerable spending cuts. This was primarily achieved by cutting over 825 positions, per The Dallas Morning News.

At the same time, none of Dallas ISD’s campuses are slated for closure, 70 new officers will be added to its police force, and salaried staff workers and teachers will see a salary increase of 2-4%.

According to The Texan, Dallas ISD’s current tax rate is $1.013835 per $100 in valuation. While Dallas ISD property valuations are expected to increase by 5%, the maintenance and operations tax rate is projected to be $0.7552, or $0.9972, when combined with a stagnant debt rate of $0.2420.

Notably, last year, Dallas ISD’s general fund budget was $2.03 billion, approximately $150 million more than the upcoming fiscal year and a significant increase from the previous years despite the student body shrinking, as previously covered in The Dallas Express. The district is projecting a student body of 137,529 next school year, a considerable drop — nearly 13% — from the 157,575 students enrolled in 2011-2012.

Increased competition from charter schools and demographic shifts have contributed to the decline in student enrollment at Dallas ISD, which has produced lackluster academic results.

In the latest accountability report from the Texas Education Agency, Dallas ISD saw only 41% of students score at grade level on the STAAR exam in 2021-2022, while almost 20% of the district’s graduating Class of 2022 did not obtain a diploma within four years.

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