Equity Center Template

April 1706:23 AM

This is a very easy revenue template that compares FY19 Current Law Revenue to FY20 CSHB 3. It includes a tax collection calculator and a minimum salary schedule based on the basic allotment of CSHB 3. Adam Pierce from Equity Center is the contact person for questions; his email is adam@equitycenter.org view article arw

Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 2 dated 04/15/2019) that is now available for download.  This new release is only for the purpose of comparing 2019-20 current law to most of the 2019-20 school finance provisions in HB 3, with some corrections from Release 1 (see Notes tab).  As always, please stay tuned for any new developments. - You should move data over to this release - js read more arw

DESOTO (CBSDFW.COM) – It was another night of tough decisions at DeSoto ISD on Monday, where board members spent hours discussing possible budget cuts. The district has made no secret of its money issues, recently releasing a documentary and an ambitious plan to trim $20 million in costs by next year. The cuts won’t happen without job loss: payroll is the district’s biggest expense. Last night officials said they were considering eliminating 227 positions, most of them teachers or teacher’s aides. Other cuts could come from special education, campus supportand other departments. view article arw

A proposed energy management project at Rusk ISD designed to update systems also will provide the local district a huge chunk of financial savings. Superintendent Grey Burton updated the board during their monthly board meeting on Monday, discussing preliminary costs, savings potential and targeted areas of improvement. “The energy project is exclusively designed to investigate all possible areas of energy savings,” he said, explaining that RISD will invest in solutions that yield the greatest return on the district's investment. view article arw

Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 1 dated 04/10/2019) that is now available for download.  This new release is only for the purpose of comparing 2019-20 current law to most of the 2019-20 school finance provisions in HB 3 (see Notes tab).  As always, please stay tuned for any new developments. read more arw

Approval of a contract with Performance Services Inc. is listed on Paris ISD’s Monday night board meeting. In November, the board agreed to an energy audit to see where the district could upgrade its energy infrastructure. The company, using the 44.901 section of the Texas Education Code, would allow the district to sign an energy savings performance contract, allowing the district to take out a loan, upgrade energy infrastructure and pay the loan back through the savings and possibly even save money in the long run. view article arw

Preliminary budget projections for fiscal year 2019-20 estimate $141.8 million in general fund revenue and expenditures for Tomball ISD, Chief Financial Officer Jim Ross told the board of trustees April 8. This budget would be 7.9% higher than FY 2018-19, Ross said, which totaled $131.4 million. The district’s budget is dependent upon school finance reform efforts ongoing in the state Legislature as well as estimated property tax values from Harris and Montgomery counties expected later this spring, Ross said. As a result, the budget presented April 8 is only preliminary, he said. view article arw

In Sheryl Moore’s 33 years of experience in education, she noted there has only been one other time where she could feel the ground shaking underneath her as the legislative powers that be go to work discussing school funding reform. “That all goes back to the last election where the public sent a message,” Moore said. “Community members on top of teachers and parents awakened the giant.” In recent weeks, both the House of Representatives and Senate have provided their own versions of bills that tackle school funding as well as some property tax alterations. view article arw

After marking it as a top priority this legislative session, Texas lawmakers in March filed several bills focused on overhauling the state’s school finance system. One of the reform packages, House Bill 3, was filed in March by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and is highlighted by a $9 billion plan to rework the state’s education funding and district property taxes. With $6.3 billion directed toward schools and $2.7 billion for tax relief, HB 3, or the “Texas Plan,” proposes a nearly $900 increase in per-student funding; a $0.04 reduction in statewide school property tax rates; raises for teachers; and funding for specific education, career and technology programs. view article arw

Leading Texas senators on Tuesday lit into stewards of the state’s $44 billion school endowment, citing recent reports of mismanagement and dwindling payments to schools.  “There has to be a number better than this,” Sen. Larry Taylor, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said as he jabbed a finger into a Houston Chronicle chart showing the fund swell while contributions to schools stagnate. view article arw

Austin ISD will not adopt its official fiscal year 2019-20 budget until June, but trustees had a discussion about the preliminary budget at a workshop April 8. About $29.4 million in cost cutting and savings outlined in the 2019-20 budget are to make up an anticipated budget shortfall of $65 million and to help support increased spending towards district priorities, according to AISD Chief of Business and Operations Nicole Conley Johnson. view article arw

Last October, Texas education officials told lawmakers they would likely owe the federal government $33 million for illegally decreasing funding for kids with disabilities. They reassured them it was a fraction — just 3% — of their federal special education grant and wouldn't hurt students. Now, the state's estimate for how much it could owe has risen to $223 million, nearly a quarter of Texas' annual special education grant, officials confirmed to The Texas Tribune Friday. That total includes an estimated $111.6 million it may have to pay back for failing to spend it on kids with disabilities this fiscal year. The U.S. Department of Education has found Texas in violation of a federal statute prohibiting states from reducing their funding for kids with disabilities from year to year, and warned the state that a financial penalty was coming. Now, advocates are concerned that Texas could lose an even bigger chunk of its funding, harming its efforts to overhaul special education for hundreds of thousands of students. view article arw

The Republican-led Texas House approved a bipartisan school finance bill that would pour $9 billion into the state's public education system — lawmakers' latest attempt to revamp a funding structure the state Supreme Court has deemed barely constitutional. Houston Republican Rep. Dan Huberty's proposal would pump $6.3 billion into the state's public education system and send another $2.7 billion to schools to tamp down ever-growing property taxes. Texas has no state income tax, meaning schools rely heavily on local property tax revenue. But lawmakers have promised to increase classroom funding while cutting property taxes. view article arw

Leander ISD is in the process of creating its 2019-20 budget. During an April 4 meeting, school board members discussed potential new programs and other budget considerations for the upcoming academic year. LISD Chief Financial Officer Lucas Janda provided an overview of the implications of a school finance reform bill, House Bill 3, filed by Public Education Chariman state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, during the current Texas legislative session. He said under the bill, LISD could avoid paying into the recapture system in the upcoming year. Under Chapter 41 of Texas Education Code, otherwise known as the “Robin Hood” or recapture system, Texas schools classified as property-wealthy must share property tax revenue with property-poor districts. view article arw

A former Santa Fe Independent School District teacher accused in 2016 of having sex with two students was sentenced on Wednesday to one year deferred probation after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. Kelsey Leigh Gutierrez, 28, of Friendswood, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of purchasing or furnishing alcohol to a minor, according court records. Prosecutors dropped two counts of inappropriate relationship between an educator and student as part of the plea agreement, court records show. view article arw

As the May 4 elections approach, Community Impact Newspaper will provide coverage of the four Plano ISD board of trustees races. view article arw

As a bill for teacher raises makes its way through the Texas Legislature, Fort Bend ISD is looking at how the change would affect its budget should the bill pass. Senate Bill 3 was unanimously approved by the Senate on March 4, and if the bill is approved by Gov. Greg Abbott, it would provide a $5,000 raise in annual pay for full-time classroom teachers and librarians beginning with the 2019-20 school year. If the bill is signed into law, the salary increase for 4,750 full-time teachers and 78 librarians in FBISD would account for about $24 million and an average pay raise of 8 percent, FBISD Chief Financial Officer Steven Bassett said. view article arw

South San Independent School District students say the recent vote by the board of trustees to move forward with plans to reopen three closed schools is fueling their resolve to get the community involved in making a change. Melivia Mujica and Amanda Nava spoke out against the district’s efforts during a school board meeting Wednesday. More than a dozen students showed up with signs that read, “Student voices matter” and “Our lives are in your hands.” Some even sharing their personal stories about mental health problems and suicide attempts. view article arw

The Royse City Independent School District will be able to budget 3 percent raises for its employees next school year according to projections presented to trustees earlier this week.   Chief Financial Officer Byron Bryant spoke to school board members during a Monday budget workshop meeting at the Ernest Epps Education Service Center. In addition to projected needs for the district, Bryant gave trustees an update on the status of the school finance reform bills currently being combed over at the Texas Legislature – House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 3. view article arw

After originally tabling a measure to make expenditures from the district’s fund balance, the Commerce ISD Board of Trustees met in special session Tuesday night and approved several spending items. The district had previously brought up the idea to spend some extra money after it was revealed at the board’s January meeting that there was a surplus of more than $1.4 million in the CISD general fund balance. Superintendent Charlie Alderman put forth the idea to gather a “wish list” from campus principals to find what projects are most necessary and what some of the surplus funds could be spent on. view article arw

More than a year after Hurricane Harvey hit the Greater Houston area, Katy ISD’s financial department has estimated the direct costs to the district from the flooding event. KISD Chief Financial Officer Chris Smith and KISD Business Manager Anne Faichtinger presented a report of these figures the board of trustees at its March 25 meeting. However, Smith stressed the full cost of the disaster may never be known. According to the report, KISD’s damage claims—which included damages, emergency protective measures and shelters, Faichtinger said—totaled $30.3 million. view article arw

The Crosby ISD board of trustees officially has called an end to the financial emergency that had the east Harris County district on the brink of insolvency and resulted in the loss of more than 150 jobs, including 34 teachers.  Trustees voted unanimously Monday evening to rescind the district’s declaration of financial exigency, repealing a status that granted Crosby ISD officials some legal exemptions that allowed them to take drastic budget-related actions since October.  Superintendent Scott Davis, who uncovered the district’s financial issues when he became the district’s leader in July 2018, called the vote a watershed moment in the district’s recovery. view article arw

After five months of cutting budgets, layoffs and extreme concern from its community, the Crosby ISD Board of Trustees approved a motion to end its financial exigency on Monday. Before recommending the measure to the board for approval, Superintendent Scott Davis looked down, took a sigh of relief and had a smile on his face. view article arw

One of the great frustrations in life is watching unpleasant history repeat itself. I am concerned that history may once again be repeated as the Texas Legislature tries to deal with school finance reform. Like many who seek public office, I entered the 2006 race for state representative out of frustration. The school finance system was messed up. The most recent legislative session, even with multiple special sessions, hadn’t done much to improve it. “Tax compression” and “target revenue” had become the school finance topics of the day. These were added to “recapture”, “chapter 41”, “chapter 42”, “golden pennies”, “copper pennies” and other phrases in the obscure lexicon of school finance. The system was a mess! That mess was the only thing significant enough to entice me to step out of retirement, with the belief that I could fix school finance. view article arw

Repost!  I want to call your attention to a nice side-by-side comparison of Texas School Finance proposals (House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 4)  prepared by Raise Your Hand Texas and posted by TASA. read more arw

Beaumont ISD and Hardin-Jefferson spent Monday at Jefferson County Commissioner pleading their case to the commissioners about how much money should be paid back after Bevil Oaks left Beaumont ISD. view article arw

Nicole Conley, the chief of business and operations for Austin Independent School District (AISD), said she's encouraged by House Bill 3. The bill, if passed, would bring in more money to school districts across the state. view article arw

Susie Angel never intended to become friends with her personal attendant. Then again, it’s hard not to grow close to the person who, for nearly a year, has helped her dress, prepared her meals, brushed her teeth and otherwise cared for her. Last April, Angel first floated the idea that Sandy White become her attendant after a chance encounter on a neighborhood dog walk. White was between jobs, and Angel, who has cerebral palsy, needed some paid help in the mornings so that she could get to work on time. White was unsure. Her background was in retail, and she’d never cared for a person with a disability. But Angel was persistent. She paid White an unexpected house call; sitting in her wheelchair in White’s front yard, she offered White the job. “I was kind of flattered to be asked,” said White, who started working for Angel that week. “It’s satisfying being able to take care of someone.” view article arw

Lawmakers are proposing a wide range of fixes for the state’s public school endowment, which has lost out on billions in growth during the past decade while paying out less to schoolchildren.  One bipartisan bill backed by high-powered legislators would restore the State Board of Education’s control over nearly all of the investments for the $44 billion Texas Permanent School Fund, reverting to the way it was before a 2001 law change. view article arw

The Pharr Housing Authority and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD recently signed a 10-year cooperative agreement that will help fund scholarships for housing residents. As part of this agreement, the Housing Authority will make an annual payment in Lieu of Taxes to PSJA ISD, who will then contribute the payment to Project READ, a new non-profit created by the Housing Authority to provide scholarships to PSJA graduates residing at the Pharr Housing Authority. During the regularly scheduled School Board meeting held Monday, March 18, PSJA ISD presented a check totaling $73,580.03 for the 2017 and 2018 years to Project READ to kick-off the scholarship program. A committee will be formed to create criteria for the scholarship awards. The plan is to give out the first scholarships to the Class of 2019. view article arw

El Campo ISD trustees will discuss how to put to use what is left over from an alternative energy company’s application fee Tuesday. At the February meeting, the board directed Superintendent Kelly Waters to find a use for the $49,000 remaining from a non-refundable, $75,000-application fee submitted by Seventus, LLC when it applied for a property tax limitation agreement for a proposed wind farm. The application was being reviewed by the Comptroller’s Office when Seventus withdrew its application from the district in January. view article arw

Beaumont ISD trustees on Thursday approved the sale of $2.84 million in district-owned real estate following a bidding process. The nine properties involved total more than 100 acres and include the long-shuttered Price Elementary School and the site of the since-demolished Tyrrell Park Elementary. view article arw

The Village Charter School is facing the possibility of closure after years of financial losses and mounting debt, according to state documents obtained by Idaho Education News. Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission, responsible for regulating most Idaho charters, recommended The Village board plan for how to close the 490-student school in an orderly fashion, if they can’t rectify a perilous financial situation. view article arw

A Texas House panel this week advanced a school finance proposal that includes the biggest overhaul in 30 years of the way the state distributes money for most of its students, based on a system the San Antonio Independent School District uses to differentiate between levels of poverty. “Not all poverty’s the same,” said Mohammed Choudhury, SAISD’s chief innovation officer, who implemented a similar system in Dallas ISD before bringing it to San Antonio. “You are now measuring disadvantage in a more sophisticated way.” view article arw

The $9 billion dollar funding is a huge step for our Texas children's public education.  AUSTIN, TX (March 19, 2019) – “Pastors For Texas Children praises the hard work of the House Committee on Public Education for passing out House Bill 3 that provides a significant increase in funding for our neighborhood schools that will benefit both our hard-working teachers and Texas school kids. We applaud the leadership of Chairman Dan Huberty, Vice Chairman Diego Bernal and each member of the committee in this historic correction. We look forward to the day soon when Texas leads the country in per-pupil public education support.” read more arw