The Richardson Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to approve a budget for the 2024-25 school year which includes four elementary school consolidations and a substantial pay raise for teachers at the June 6 Board meeting.

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The approved budget was based on an operating tax rate of $0.7899, a decrease from $0.7931 in 2023. The debt service tax rate of $0.35 remains unchanged, with a combined total tax rate of $1.1399.

Known as Project RightSize, the elementary plan consolidates the attendance boundaries of Greenwood Hills Elementary, Springridge Elementary, Spring Valley Elementary, and Thurgood Marshall Elementary with neighboring elementary schools for the 2024-25 school year. The plan was originally approved at the March 21. Board of Trustees meeting. Dobie Pre-K will close down completely after the 2024-25 school year. 

Citing a $27.5 million dollar deficit, declining enrollment and insufficient funding from the state legislature, which has not increased per-student funding since 2019, the board estimated that the project will save RISD close to $11 million next year. The project is also expected to result in $10 million in one-time funds. The total savings from consolidations and other cuts is expected to be around $12.8 million.

“Unfortunately, this budget also includes closing the doors of four elementary campuses among our operating reductions and efficiencies, which has been highly disruptive for students, parents, staff, and neighborhoods across the district,” said RISD Superintendent Tabitha Branum in a release. “As the costs of operating a school district continue to rise due to ongoing inflation, it’s important to keep reminding our stakeholders that we have not received a per-pupil funding increase in the basic student allotment from the state legislature since before the pandemic – six years. This budget continues our work to utilize the district’s limited resources consistent with our North Star Goal of student academic growth.” 

The compensation plan, approved by the RISD Board on May 2., will provide RISD employees with pay raises ranging from 3% to 30% and higher. Non “T-Type” employees, meaning those who are not teachers, librarians, counselors or nurses will receive a 3% raise. Teacher raises will vary from 3% for newer teachers to over 30% and more for teachers with several decades of experience. Teachers must meet performance standards to receive the raises.