The Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees hosted a special meeting and budget hearing on June 29, 2020. Due to the current nationwide health pandemic, district facilities and schools remain closed and this meeting was conducted through video conferencing. A video recording of the meeting can be viewed using the following link - here. During the meeting, the Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a balanced budget for the 2020-2021 school year, a one-time payment of $2,000 for all employees and the purchase of additional technology devices totaling up to $2.8 million.
Balanced Budget, Adjust Vacant Staffing to Provide More Campus Support
Based on the anticipated district revenue, an unpredictable financial environment related to the Covid-19 health pandemic as well as the upcoming legislative session, district leaders exercised a great deal of caution regarding expenditures. The goal was to approve a balanced budget while also addressing priority areas connected to social emotional learning, tracking attendance, and safety and security.
Through attrition and reallocating vacant positions the district was able to address critical needs to the campuses. Those areas include: approximately a dozen office clerks for elementary and middle schools, a PEIMS specialist at Duncanville High School and a security monitor for each middle school. The board also discussed expanding the social emotional initiative launched last year to include social workers and social emotional counselors to target specific campus needs.
Trustees approved an overall budget of $151,896,083. The district also continues to maintain a healthy fund balance, a reserve that covers the cost of operating the district for approximately 5 months.
For the 2020-2021 budget, the board discussed various options associated with a one-time stipend for all employees that would be paid through the district’s fund balance. Board members considered dollar amounts for a one-time payment ranging from $1,800 to $2,000.
Board members commented on the dedication of employees during an unexpected health pandemic before voting unanimously to approve a one-time payment of $2,000 for all district employees. To qualify for the payment, employees must be working in the district as of Sept. 1, 2020. The one-time payment will be provided to employees in November as a payment separate from regular salary.
In addition, to curb the increased costs of medical benefits trustees approved an increase to the district’s insurance premium contribution by $19 a month, which is the equivalent of $261,516 based on the number of employees utilizing district insurance. With this increased contribution, employees who select the “Employee Only” ActiveCare 1HD insurance plan will see no insurance increase.
Technology Device Purchases for Students and Staff
As the district prepares for school reopening in August with virtual learning as well as in-person instruction, there will be a higher need for technology devices for students and instructional support for teachers in addition to more cleaning supplies and products, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety items for students and staff. Those were all elements included in the budget.
However, trustees went a step further and approved the purchase of up to $2.8 million in additional technology devices for students and staff to be paid through the district’s fund balance.