Gary ISD trustees adopted a $4,971,069 balanced budget, a jump of about $800,000 from last year’s $4.1 million budget that will allow more money to be put into instruction and maintenance.

Trustees also adopted an effective tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation, down 7 cents from last year. The tax rate includes a maintenance and operations rate of 97 cents and a debt service rate of 46 cents. The decrease in tax rate comes from the M&O side, with the I&S side remaining the same as last year.

“It was actually nice to do it this year,” Jason Woodfin, assistant superintendent said. “Had some money to work with. Last two years have been very trying, and y’all know that, but this year was, I guess I’ll say it this way — the state kinda, they starve you to death, and then they throw you a little bone, and then you think you just ate a gourmet meal on something. But no, I was real happy. All things being constant, we built a lot of good things in here. I’ve stuck a little money in there hopefully for some renovations on the special ed building, y’all know that, it leaks pretty bad, and we’re gonna try to get it replaced. Put a little money in there for our bus barn over there to kind of clean it up some, it’s holding water a little bit.”

Other places they’ve stuck money in the budget for are teacher pay increases, technology, and some money for an additional 26 passenger coach bus to save on wear and tear for Gary ISD’s route buses — if they can find one to buy.

The teacher pay raises vary according to a teacher’s experience and degree. For instance, Woodfin said a 20 year teacher at Gary ISD would get a base raise of $7,530, plus $2,000 more if they have a Master’s degree.

Woodfin said he gets told frequently that the district is ahead of the game in terms of technology.

“I would like to keep us there,” he said.

The additional funds in the budget in comparison with the last two years are thanks to House Bill 3, Woodfin said.

“That made a world of difference, because I’m gonna tell you, we were operating on money we had been frugal with and saved, just so we could keep going,” he said.