The Sherman Independent School District school board unanimously approved the budget and tax rate Monday night.

The newly approved budget calls for nearly $86 million in expenditures and a new tax rate of $1.649 per $100 valuation — which includes the debt service increase of 20.9 cents that voters approved last November.

“The increase is on that debt service,” SISD Assistant Director of Finance and Operations Tyson Bennett said “The new Sherman High School and new technology needs would be funded through these programs.”

The 2018-2019 SISD budget also has $85,779,851 in total expenditures divided into general, food service and debt categories. The new budget also indicates excess revenue of just under $400,000. SISD board President Tim Millerick said that money would go toward one-time expenses when the new high school campus opens.

“The staff has worked very hard to figure out what our revenues would be,” Millerick said. “There’s been a lot of moving parts and the staff has done a great job figuring out how to provide a competitive compensation package and planning ahead for the future.”

As part of that compensation, the budget calls for a 2.5 percent increase in salaries for teachers within the district. SISD teachers will also see their health care premiums increase from $300 to $325 to adjust for increases within in health care costs.

“We have to consider the things not just for next year but for the next three years,” Bennett said. “We’re going to be adding personnel and upgrades.”

In his presentation to the board Monday, Bennett emphasized the need for planning for the future. With the construction of the new high school and the conversion of the current high school building into a middle school, the board is also emphasizing the need to look ahead.

“Since we have a new high school and a new middle school getting ready to come up, those are things that you can’t wait for until the last minute,” Millerick said. “You have to start today.”

The board was also given updates regarding the ground breaking of the new high school. Clinton Shiver of VLK Architects gave updates on the materials that will be used to construct the new school as well as modifying the exterior of the front of the school after receiving feedback.

Following his update, Steve Levy of Cadence McShane Construction told the board they would start outreach events to subcontractors for the new school. Levy said they would be ready to break dirt in July with a ground breaking ceremony in September. The new high school is scheduled to open in August 2020.

As SISD moves forward with the new budget and with major projects on the horizon, both Millerick and Bennett see the district in good shape financially.

“The next budget year we hope to have saved anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million when we open the new high school,” Millerick said. “We think we’re going to pretty good with managing that money and making those goals.”

“The school district is in strong shape in terms of their budgets and their finances,” Bennett said. “Credit the school board for setting budget priorities that help our staff, students and programs that help impact everyone in a positive way.”