Northside Independent School District trustees passed a $1.5 billion budget Tuesday night after projecting an enrollment of close to 106,000 students – a number that reflects a slight decline from the previous school year.

Northside is San Antonio’s largest school district and the state’s fourth-largest. The 2019-20 budget includes State money from House Bill 3, which requires districts to use 30 percent of those funds for wage increases. Northside also was able to decrease its tax rate by 7 cents.

In mid-July, board members approved pay increases for all district staff, including a 4 percent increase for counselors, nurses, librarians, and teachers with less than five years in the classroom and a 4.75 percent increase for teachers with six or more years experience.

The board also approved a health care plan with a 5.8 percent projected increased costs to the district.

On Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a property tax rate of $1.31 per $100 of property value. That’s a decrease of 7 cents from the previous year. The total taxable value of properties in Northside’s boundaries is projected to increase by about 8 percent.

Even with the property tax rate decreasing, Northside plans to increasingly rely on revenue from local property tax rates in the future. Officials project that the State’s share of the cost of education will fall. Northside’s high enrollment and need for new schools could make budgeting a challenge, officials have said.

Northside’s two most recent bonds from 2014 and 2018 include plans for an elementary, middle, and high school that have yet to be constructed. The construction of the schools will be funded by the bonds, but each new campus would add operating costs into Northside’s future budgets.

The largest portion of the budget passed Tuesday — the $979 million general fund budget — includes $34.7 million for increased compensation and benefits, $1.1 million for new school costs, $2.1 million for costs associated with growth, $17.7 toward improvements, and $5 million for technology deployments. Another $23.1 million will be spent on administrative and district projects.

North East ISD, San Antonio’s second-largest school district, passed a $739.5 million budget in June with about $570 million in the district’s general fund, an account responsible for funding most yearly expenses.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.