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BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVES $261.7 MILLION BUDGET
At this month's board meeting, RISD's Board of Trustees approved a $261.7 million operating budget for the 2008-2009 school year. Under the state's current school finance system, RISD’s operating revenue is limited to our 2005-2006 funding level, which necessitated budget cuts of more than $870,000 in order to provide a salary increase for employees and cover rising costs.
 
Budget highlights include:
  • Nearly a 3 percent raise for teachers, a 3.5 percent increase for support staff, and a 2.75 percent increase for administrators. The employee compensation plan will cost the district about $5.6 million.
  • No tax rate increase for homeowners. The tax-rate will remain at $1.34 per $100 of property value.
  • Continuation of the 10 percent local optional homestead exemption for property owners, reducing a typical homeowner’s property taxes by about $275 a year. This allows RISD to have the third lowest tax levy among peer districts in Dallas and Collin County.
  • Budget reductions by lowering appraisal district fees, insurance premium savings, and central administration attrition.
  • A budget enhancement of more than $600,000 from the district's new PACE after school program.
  • Recapture payment to the state of approximately $20.3 million.
 
Financial challenges:
  • Loss of student enrollment – With renovations scheduled in the Lake Highlands and Richardson areas that include the demolition of apartment buildings, RISD's student enrollment is projected to decrease. District operating revenue is based on student enrollment, meaning the fewer students we have, the less funding available.

  • "Robin Hood" is still alive – Under the current finance system, RISD is still considered a “property wealthy” district and must send funds back to the state from any increase in property values. For the 2007-2008 school year, RISD sent $17.4 million to the state; for 2008-2009, RISD expects to send $20.3 million to the state. Since 1993-94, RISD has sent $400 million to the state in recapture ("Robin Hood") payments.

  • House Bill 1 – Property value increases do not benefit our operating budget. Property tax revenue collected beyond our 2005-2006 level must be returned to the state, so unlike cities and counties, our operating budget does not benefit from property value increases – instead, those funds go to the State of Texas.
 
Although many area districts have significant budget deficits, RISD has been able to control spending and find ways to save money, thereby preventing the deep budget cuts or tax increases for 2008-09 that other districts are facing.

RISD maintains an elite bond rating, shared by few other districts in Texas, and recently, RISD was commended for saving $473,000 by utilizing online Ebidding through our purchasing department.

After the Board’s vote, Dr. Simmons was pleased with the budget, given the current economy and the fact that many districts are facing large budget deficits. "We definitely have some things to keep our eyes on ... but I like our situation compared to the rest of the state." >Top
ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT
Dr. Simmons is pleased to announce the following principal assignments:

Carmen Casamayor-Ryan will be the principal at Mark Twain Elementary. She most recently served as a principal in Dallas ISD. Ms. Ryan began her career in RISD as a teacher at Spring Valley Elementary. She was an administrative intern at Northwood Hills and then served as an assistant principal at Spring Valley. Ms. Ryan received her bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and her master's degree from the University of Houston.

Michele Hyde, currently assistant principal at Audelia Creek Elementary, has been named principal of Greenwood Hills Elementary. Ms. Hyde began her career in RISD ten years ago as a teacher at Stults Road Elementary. She has also served as a Reading Recovery teacher and a TAP master teacher. Ms. Hyde received her bachelor's degree from Loyola University and her master's degree from the University of North Texas.

Congratulations to these new principals!
RISD AWARDED 21ST CENTURY GRANT
RISD has been awarded a five-year 21st Century Community Learning Grant, worth more than $7 million, to offer the district's PACE after school program in five junior high schools and seven elementary schools. Students who attend these schools will have the opportunity to participate in the PACE after school program at no cost. This news brings the number of schools served by the PACE program to 28, serving an anticipated 3,000 students during the upcoming school year.

The 21st Century Grant schools will provide a parent education component in addition to the regular PACE program that includes physical activities, academic assistance, character education and other enriching curriculum. The PACE after school program and the 21st Century Grant will work jointly to serve the students of our community.

21st Century Grant schools include:
Audelia Creek Elementary
Bukhair Elementary
Forest Lane Academy
RISD Academy
Skyview Elementary
Thurgood Marshall Elementary
Forest Meadow Junior High
Lake Highlands Junior High
Liberty Junior High
Richardson West Junior High
Westwood Junior High

For more information, please visit www.risd.org/pace >Top
PARTNERS CORNER
RISD's Second Annual Back-to-School Rally
The new Richardson Lowe’s opened their doors today and celebrated with a $1,000 donation to the RISD Partners Program. Located in the newly renovated Richardson Square Mall, the national home-improvement chain's first order of business was to support the students of RISD.  The funds will purchase school supplies and backpacks for RISD's Second Annual Back-to-School Rally, which will take place on August 16th.

This years’ Back-to-School Rally will be hosted by the First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park, and in combination with the Network of Community Ministries, the Heights Baptist Church, Nortel, the Richardson Chamber, and an additional fifty community businesses and organizations across RISD. The rally's goal is to supply 7,000 RISD students in need with the necessary resources for the next school year.

To participate, please contact Celina Cárdenas at 469-593-0307 or celina.cardenas@risd.org.
SUMMER RENOVATIONS
While most students and teachers view summer as a time to relax and reflect, RISD's Facilities Services personnel use the weeks of summer break to maintain RISD's 70 campuses and facilities, including major renovations or construction at certain campuses, per the 2006 Bond Package.

The following campuses are currently undergoing significant renovations that may cause a change in foot traffic patterns or the use of temporary entrances for visitors:

Apollo Junior High
Arapaho Classical Magnet
Forestridge Elementary
Liberty Junior High
Mohawk Elementary
Northwood Hills Elementary
O. Henry Elementary
Springridge Elementary
Richardson North Junior High
Richardson Terrace Elementary
Westwood Junior High

For more information about specific campuses, please contact the school.
ELEMENTARY REGISTRATION BEGINS AUGUST 12
Elementary parents are strongly encouraged to register their child in school before the first day of classes on August 25. Parents can register their child at their campus on Tuesday, August 12 through Friday, August 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Campuses will also be open for registration on additional days, but schedules vary by school, so parents should contact their campus before they go.

When registering, parents should bring:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Last Report Card
  • Social Security Card
  • Current Immunization Records
  • Proof of Residency in RISD (utility bill or lease)
Every grade level at each campus has a capacity, and waiting to register may result in a child not being able to attend their neighborhood school, and being assigned to a different school.

Please contact your campus with any questions, or visit www.risd.org. >Top
SUMMER BREAK REMINDER
Most administrative offices will be on summer break from June 27 until July 16. The offices of Human Resources, Insurance Services, Business and Financial Services, Technology Maintenance Services and Maintenance and Operations will remain open during this period. For more information, please contact 469-593-0000.
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