AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday during an Austin ISD board meeting, trustees were presented with a final budget recommendation for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The board voted 7-2 to pass the budget, worth more than $1.6 billion. Part of it includes position cuts and more than $20 million in staff raises.
Although the budget is set at $1.6 billion, the district will pay the state about half of it, or $800 million, in recapture.
Jason Stanford, the district's chief communications officer, said it's the first time in about six years that AISD has a balanced budget without dipping into savings. It's something Stanford said is good for taxpayers.
"The more responsible we are with our money, the more we can give to our teachers and principals and the bus drivers and the counselors and all those folks," Stanford said.
As part of balancing the budget, the district is eliminating nearly 600 positions, including vacant jobs with AISD police, central office positions, and vacant bus driver positions. According to the district, that helps pay for wage increases.
In the upcoming school year, teachers will get $1,000 base pay raises, bus drivers will get bumped to $21 an hour, and classified staff will have a minimum wage of $16 an hour.
"There are things that changed because of our negotiations that we're happy about, but we've got a lot more to do as this city becomes more ridiculous to live in," Ken Zarifis said, the president of Education Austin.
Zarifis said the AISD teachers union has been pushing for higher pay for all staff for several months and that a balanced budget wasn't at the top of the union's list.
"People should be our priority as opposed to a balanced budget," Zarifis said.
The district said a balanced budget is overall better for staff and the community.
"We've been pretty willy-nilly as a district in the past, in previous administrations about how we did this. We're being responsible now," Stanford said.
Now that the board has approved the budget, it will approve any sort of property tax changes by September.
For a breakdown of the 2022-2023 budget, click here.
Here's a list of the staff being cut as part of the upcoming budget.
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