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WESLACO — Unlike most Texas school districts scrambling to balance their deficit budgets for next year, Weslaco ISD is expecting a balanced budget with multiple projects, additional teachers and raises.

In a budget workshop on Tuesday, Weslaco ISD Chief Financial Officer David Robledo started the meeting by giving the board and community members a look at what is currently happening around the state and in the Valley.

Robledo shared news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and what is currently happening at Brownsville ISD with the consolidation of schools.

The start of the presentation was to give the audience a sense of how people are dealing with Gov. Greg Abbott’s withholding of $31 billion in public school funding over the approval of a school voucher program.

Robledo said during the meeting that the district is looking at a revenue of $192 million, a $2 million increase from last year’s budget. He added the projected revenue is expected to change when property tax values are released on April 30.

A major change in the new year’s budget is the projected increase of average daily attendance (ADA) from 14,000 to 14,500. This estimate is projected to give the district an additional $4 million.

Weslaco ISD Superintendent Richard Rivera said he feels great about how the district’s budget is looking like in 2024-2025. Rivera added the district has been working since last January to balance the budget knowing the state was not going to provide any assistance.

“Between going over the surplus for this year and for next year, we’re talking almost about $9 million in additional revenues just through ADA.” Rivera said.

Rivera was unable to provide a figure on the exact dollar amount of expenditures for next year but did provide insight on the increases to next year’s budget and on the other aspects that will keep the district balanced.

Some of the items that will increase the budget are additional teachers, due to the increase in student enrollment and program growth, school busses, classroom technology and portable water hydration systems for co-curricular programs.

A major increase is giving Weslaco ISD teachers a $2,000 raise alongside a $2,000 retention stipend.

“That amount is $8 million, but through the ADA increase and the projected enrollment, we’re going to balance out.” Rivera said.

He added all other Weslaco ISD staff will get a 3% raise as well.

Another key part in having a balanced fund was the $160 million bond passed in November.

“That helped us tremendously on our facilities and the different things that we need,” Rivera said. “Other school district’s didn’t do that. What is going to help too, is once we get the money … we’re going to earn interest. So just on that money, as we do the projects, I anticipate $6 to $7 million more just through interest.”

Amongst the chaos of obtaining a balanced fund, many school districts also ran into similar problems of having positions funded by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funds which is in its final year.

For example, this school year La Joya ISD has 556 positions funded by ESSER and is now tasked to either move these positions to be funded by general funds or terminate them.

“So we were able to do this without having to terminate or do anything else,” Rivera said. “Everyone that had a job under ESSER and has a job for the (2025) school year, paid through local funds.”

The superintendent said the district, little by little over the course of a year, had been moving approximately 200 ESSER positions to be funded by the general fund.

Asked how it feels to have Weslaco ISD in a good financial place, Rivera replied, “It’s a tremendous feeling but I want to give credit to our board, our community, our staff, and our students for coming to school. Because if they don’t come to school, you can’t count them as ADA. It’s a team effort, everyone’s together.”