The $127.8 million budget was approved 5-0 as proposed. The board also unanimously approved the proposed tax rate of $1.375 per $100 valuation, the same rate as last year.
Trustees Shirley Jordan and Eleno Licea were absent.
The budget reflected continued state funding cuts. However, additional revenue minimized the deficit the district had to overcome to $1.2 million, significantly less than last year's almost $7 million state funding cut.
Salary expenses made up 82 percent of this year's budget at $104.4 million.
The district opted to award stipends this year instead of raises. It's the third year for staff to go without raises and the second year for teachers.
Employees can receive a stipend up to $1,300 with the exact amount depending upon their work status.
By giving stipends instead of raises, TISD doesn't have to maintain the pay increase next budget year if it doesn't have the funds. The stipends will cost the district about $3 million.
On the revenue side, TISD will see increases in several areas, including transportation, Medicaid reimbursements and reimbursements for certain telecommunications services.
On the expenditure side, the district cut funding for many central office departments by 5 percent, with others losing more or less than that.
The district saved almost $1 million in payroll and benefits expenditures by absorbing 12 teaching positions at the high schools, decreasing the amount of money put into the health insurance contingency fund, and limiting overtime pay by using compensatory time for maintenance and custodial employees.
In instruction and instructional support, the district cut the campus allotment by $17,168; elementary field trips by $25,000; playoff games funding for band, cheer etc. by $35,000; and advanced academics by $50,000.
Some board members questioned the cuts to the campus allotment and advanced academics. Ms. Bjork said the campus-allotment decrease reflects projected enrollment numbers and maintains the same level of per-student funding as in previous years.
The advanced academics cuts reflect two positions eliminated through attrition. The district cut the number of schools in the International Baccalaureate program so it no longer needed two coordinators.
Ms. Bjork previously said that overall the cuts would affect mainly departments, and the district tried to avoid those that would directly affect students.
However, athletics and fine arts departments will each receive a $30,000 funding cut. These offices fund instruments, equipment and uniforms for students.
Only one person addressed the board about the budget. Rick Eisenbach, chairman of the TISD Watchdog Committee for Grassroots America — We the People, praised the district's handling of staffing adjustments, debt management and fiscal accountability.
He urged TISD to carefully evaluate administrative positions dealing with academics and curriculum to determine if the results are worth the expense.
He also asked the district to assess its C-Scope curriculum from a cost-benefit standpoint.
“We appreciate the mature way Tyler ISD has handled the decline in state funding,” he said. “Instead of constantly complaining, the district rolled up its sleeves and made some smart moves to reduce spending.”