By Graham Deshazer | Staff Writer
The Richardson Independent School District has published the official “Budget Book” for the 2013-2014 school year. Much of this money goes toward salaries, curriculum and new instructional materials.
In total, RISD enrolls about 39,000 students. To teach all these students, the district was given a total operating budget of $273,531,795 for the 2013-2014 school year, made up of federal, state and local revenues.
“Fortunately, our school district is very responsibly managed from a financial standpoint, so our students, teachers and programs benefit from that,” Pearce Principal Beverly Vance said.
About 90 percent of the operating fund is spent on payroll costs for teachers and administrators. This includes current salaries, benefits and extra duty pay. The average RISD teacher is paid $49,110.
“I think that teachers should be paid more than they currently make,” sophomore Emily Halligan said. “Teachers are the backbone of our education system and should be paid accordingly.”
School supplies, materials and fees cost almost $10 million for RISD this year. Supplies such as paper, textbooks, pencils and staplers are categorized in this part of the budget.
“It’s amazing how much money is needed to keep up the education of every person in the district,” sophomore Sebastian Elverskog said.
RISD students have also become more economically challenged over the past several years. In 2005, the percent of economically disadvantaged students was at 49.7 percent, but the district is entering 2014 at 57.9 percent.
The operating budget has actually decreased from several years ago. For the 2008-2009 school year, the budget was $261,751,922, close to five percent less compared to this year.
Over 60 percent of the operating fund revenues for RISD come from local property taxes. Anyone who lives in the district helps operate RISD when they pay their taxes every year.
“I think It makes perfect sense to go to public school if you live in RISD,” sophomore Emma Conditt said. “The cost is already factored into your taxes, and you get about the same quality education as any private school.”