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LA-JOYA-LOGOLA JOYA – After a public hearing, La Joya Independent School District approved a $367 million budget during a recent board meeting. The budget includes pay raises and several special projects including a $9.5 million natatorium.

The $367 million budget includes a general fund balance of $22.6 million. Revenues are estimated at $340 million, while expenditures are budgeted at $351 million.

LJISD receives 74.5 percent of their revenues from state resources. Just over 50 percent of the budget goes toward instruction. About 70 percent goes toward payroll services.

The district approved a $2,000 salary increase for teachers and $1 an hour raise for auxiliary staff and paraprofessionals. Other professionals will be receiving a 3.5 percent raise from midpoint. If employees are at or above the maximum salary, they will not receive a raise.

The salary increases are at a cost of just over $8 million.

Special projects and requests, totaling nearly $18 million, include a natatorium, technology upgrades, HVAC repairs and vehicles.

The $9.5 million natatorium would be 37,500 square feet and include three separate bodies of water with an eight-lane competition pool, a competition diving well with two one-meter diving boards, and a shallow learn-to-swim pool. Plans also include a location for a future three-meter diving platform. The building would also include a spectator area, offices, classroom, student locker and changing areas, storage areas, weight room, training room, first aid room and public restrooms. The district is looking at bidding out on the project in August 2014. The construction schedule would take 12 to 14 months after school board approval and awarding of the bid.

Other special projects and requests include $1.5 million for a FEMA safe shelter; HVAC repairs for La Joya High School and Chavez Middle School and paving at Benavides Elementary and Richards Middle School costing $2,225,000. Also included in the proposed budget are vehicles for the Child Nutrition Services Department and renovations of the cafeteria at La Joya High School, totaling $1,330,000.

Technology upgrades include network upgrades at the high school and middle schools, software, and 720 iPads for ninth graders, totaling nearly $3 million. The Fine Arts Department will also receive $218,398 for orchestra equipment.

The tax rate will remain at $1.31. The district has property values of $2.1 billion. The district is looking at $24.1 million in revenues from M&O and $2.9 million in I&S. Revenues from average daily attendance is estimated at $26,200 per ADA.

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