Richardson ISD announced plans to build day care centers within the district during its June 6 meeting.

According to district officials, RISD expects to build four day care centers, one in each learning community that is served by the district's four high schools. The day care centers will be available for RISD staff only.

The first phase of the project will include building two locations, one at Canyon Creek Elementary and one in the former Newcomer Center across from Richardson High School. Improvements for the Newcomer Center were initially discussed as part of the 2021 bond election.

RISD Chief Financial Officer David Pate said district officials plan to open both locations by January, with the other locations to be opened at a date that has not yet been determined.

Each day care is expected to serve 68 students at a total annual operating cost of $510,000 per location. Construction costs are estimated to be $2 million for each location, according to the presentation to the board.

District officials said the day care construction project provides a great tool to help retain teachers within the district, which is one of the board’s main goals for the 2022-23 school year.

“When people think about their childhood, they often think about their favorite teachers,” Trustee Megan Timme said. “They think about how they taught them and really made an impact. If we really want great outcomes, you really have to employ those great teachers. We know we're not going to be able to outpay everybody in our area, but what we can do is try to find ways to give them a real benefit and put them in a place where they feel secure in their children’s care.”

Trustee Eric Eager said staff estimates show the day care services could potentially save the district $1.5 million by not having to pay for new teacher trainings.

The approval for the day care plan was part of the district's proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23, which was unanimously approved by the RISD board during the meeting.

According to the approved budget, RISD officials expect to have total revenues next year of just under $487 million, which is over $4 million less than the final revenue total for FY 2021-22. These estimates would provide a total revenue per enrolled student of $12,813, based on an enrollment projection of 37,984 students.

Total appropriations for FY 2022-23 are budgeted at over $516 million, which equates to $13,596 per student. Instruction provides the largest appropriation at over $238 million.

The budget also includes the staff compensation package—including a teacher pay raise and stipends—that was approved during the board’s May 9 meeting. In this staff compensation package, the new teacher salary would increase to $57,000 a year while returning teachers would receive up to a 5% raise based on experience. The district is also offering new teacher and retention stipends.