Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD: 2016-2017 Financial OverviewBudgeting and long-range plans in EMS ISD are built around the efficient and effective delivery of instruction to the students of our community. Our focus is the children. And we will do so in a prudent financial manner.In the 2015 legislative session, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD lead the effort to eliminate fractional funding, which limited revenues to 86% of the basic allotment due to actions taken in 2005. The bill that resulted from the effort did not provide immediate funds for the district, but it did eliminate a potential budget cut of more than $5,000,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. From a financial management standpoint, the elimination of this funding cliff provided the district with some flexibility as we address the needs of our community.
Through the economic recession, and even with reduced funding from the 2011 legislative cuts, EMS has managed to maintain a healthy fund balance and our financial rating from Standard and Poor’s and Fitch rating services has been elevated to AA-; one of the highest ratings of any school district in Texas.
The district has an overarching strategic plan – Aspire 2022 — that drives our planning and decision-making. Budget considerations from this plan include:
Provide each teacher the resources and opportunities necessary to allow for the delivery of instructional programs Establish and maintain competitive salaries for all employees with the goal of employing and retaining high performing, dynamic educators
Provide each student the resources and opportunities to meet their academic, social, emotional, and extracurricular needs
Integrate technology into the fabric of all we do
Maintain the financial integrity of the District through prudent management of the District resources
Preserve and protect the District’s financial reserves to meet the future needs of our students
For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the primary goals built into the budget were:
With respect to external factors that impact the operation of the District both now and into the future, the following factors have been evaluated:
- To adopt a budget with a surplus sufficient to bring fund balance to the target goal of three months of operations in the next 3 to 5 years,
- To provide funding for several areas that had been significantly cut during the recession, including,
- Capital maintenance
- Operational staffing – auxiliary personnel
- Integration of technology
- Campus and central office staffing
- To update the long-term forecasting model to ensure that the District takes no action in the near term that will limit options in the future.
- Growth – Student population: The demographer’s projections for the next 10 years show strong growth with population increases in excess of 3% every year during this period.
- Growth – Special populations: Special populations area increasing at a rate significantly higher than the overall population. These populations bring in additional revenue; however, they also demand additional resources to meet the needs of these students.
- Growth – New construction: Construction activity is increasing in the area. There is some commercial development as well as a significant increase in residential development. We anticipate the construction activity will continue into the foreseeable future.
- Growth – Existing properties: Pent up demand as well as the increase in the local population is driving up the price of existing property. Home prices in Tarrant County increased more than 10% in 2016 and we expect similar increases in 2017 and 2018.
- Competition: The number of charter schools in the area is increasing. We must account for the impact of charter schools in many areas of our operations, the most prominent being teacher hiring and construction schedules,
- Taxable Assessed Values: The District has a number of buildings that will need to be constructed over the next 10 years. Those buildings will require a significant increase in the taxable assessed value of the District to meet financial obligations. Current estimates project that the overall growth in taxable assessed values will need to average 5% for the next 12 years to meet the capital needs of the District.
Other factors that may impact the operations of the District include:
- A stable Board of Trustees with a proven record of prudent fiscal management.
- A stable leadership team with the core of the leadership team having been in place for more than five years.
- Potential legislation that will be considered in the 2017 legislative session. The District will monitor the filing and movement of bills and, when necessary, provide information or testify on the bills. The District is currently working through the Coalition of Education Funding to bring Districts from across the State of Texas together to promote and support initiatives that are good for all Texas schoolchildren.