The Waxahachie ISD board of trustees approved a 2011-2012 budget of $52,799,978 in general operating funds at its meeting Monday. The tax rate was set at $1.4289 per $100 valuation – the same rate as in 2010-2011.

The budget is balanced, assistant superintendent of finance Teresa Thomas said, noting the budget includes non-personnel cuts totaling $360,840 and no raises.

As she did during last week’s meeting, Thomas told trustees she anticipates several districts filing a lawsuit this fall against the state over public education funding.

“I don’t know whether a lawsuit is good or not,” she said, noting the last lawsuit ultimately led to the current funding crunch between the state and public schools.

State funding cuts were offset in the 2010-2011 school year by stimulus funding with Edujobs funding being utilized in the 2011-2012 budget. Neither of those will be there for the 2012-2013 school year, Thomas said.

Lawmakers in the 82nd regular and special session changed the way school districts are funded, she said, noting that under the previous formula, WISD would have received $24 million in state funding for 2012-2013.

“That’s what we should have been getting. Now, we’re getting about $21.3 million instead,” she said, continuing to voice her concerns with the next year’s budget.

A current bright spot for WISD is that it’s not considered a Chapter 41 “wealthy” district at this time. It had been listed at the first level of that funding provision, which can see districts paying money to the state if a certain wealth-threshold is reached. Increased student enrollment and decreases in property valuations have combined, however, to remove WISD from Chapter 41 status for the 2011-2012 school year, Thomas said.

Board president Mark Price noted that with the tax rate remaining the same, those residents whose property values decreased will see a lower tax bill.

The 2011-2012 budget reflects a decrease of $113,314 in property tax revenue; overall, valuations decreased about $16 million from the previous year.

Contact JoAnn at joann@wninews.com or 469-517-1452.