DK Haney Roofing

Some experts and legislators believe the 85th Legislature did little to help public schools and taxpayers despite meeting for a special session this summer and passing education funding legislation.  Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, authored the Senate’s property tax reform bill, Senate Bill 1, which failed to pass during the special session that ended in August. House Bill 21—which transfers $351 million from Health and Human Services to public education—did pass this session and was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. view article arw

AUSTIN -- Houston Independent School District won't have to hand millions of dollars to the state to spend at other schools if HISD needs that money to recover from Hurricane Harvey, but the district will have to apply for that money, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Friday.  view article arw

At the Sept. 5 meeting of the Eanes school district Board of Trustees, Associate Superintendent for Instructional Services Todd Washburn, brought good news. Out of 1,203 school districts in the state, Eanes was recognized as being in the top 4.8 percent for Post-Secondary Readiness. All district schools met the state standards and some campuses received higher recognition. view article arw

A breakdown of public school funding

September 1907:45 AM

Often individual’s familiar with City and County Governments make budget comparisons with School Districts due to the fact that all three entities collect property taxes. At first glance, your tax bill collects revenues for all local entities on one statement. Why can’t SISD reduce taxes like a direct taxing entity (County and Cities)? To answer this question, I thought that I would attempt to break down our budget in somewhat simpler terms. When starting a discussion about public school funding, I always like to make some correlations between school budgets and home budgets. Stephenville ISD has two basic tax rates that generate a majority of the funding for our school system.  view article arw

There are some conditions that have to be met to get our recapture money back.  Houston Independent School District won’t have to hand millions of dollars to the state to spend at other schools if HISD needs that money to recover from Hurricane Harvey, but the district will have to apply for that money, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Friday.  The same goes for any of the roughly 250 school districts in declared disaster areas that are required to pay so-called recapture payments to the state as part of the “Robin Hood” program that siphons money from property wealthy school districts to give to property poor ones. view article arw

Just in time for the start of the new school year, the Conroe ISD board of trustees approved a balanced budget of  $473 million—a 3.8 percent increase from the FY 2016-17 budget of $447.6 million—during its Aug. 15 meeting. As part of the budget, the district announced starting teacher salaries will increase to $52,500 a year, up from $51,500 in 2016-17. view article arw

The Houston Independent School District may be able to avoid paying part – or even all – of its over $100 million state-mandated recapture payment after district attorneys found a state law that allows schools that suffered storm damage to use recapture dollars to rebuild.  The law, passed in 2009 in the wake of Hurricane Ike, allows districts that are located within counties designated as “disaster areas” to use their recapture payments to help cover disaster-related costs, according to Houston ISD attorneys. view article arw

When South San Antonio Independent School District opted at the end of last school year to close two of its schools and an alternative school, district officials cited steadily declining enrollment and competition from charter schools as the primary reasons.   Those challenges have followed South San into its new school year, and only seem to be getting worse.  School started Aug. 21, a week earlier than usual, which might have explained why nearly 1,200 fewer students showed up than the expected enrollment driving its recently-adopted budget for 2017-2018. Over the next few weeks, enrollment ticked up across South San’s 13 remaining campuses and is expected to peak in October, but on Sept. 8 the district still had about 300 fewer than the 9,360 students it was counting on — and about 450 fewer than at the end of last year view article arw

AUSTIN - Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Education Commissioner Mike Morath signaled Wednesday that the state will use rainy day funds to help schools saddled with Hurricane Harvey-related expenses, but the chances are slim that the state will delay state standardized tests planned for next spring.  Patrick, a Houston Republican, made vows to about 45 superintendents from storm damaged areas in southeast Texas that he would support holding funding at current levels for school districts losing students due to Harvey, and for increasing money for school systems gaining displaced students. view article arw

The Texas Legislature passed a bill allocating additional funding to public education during the special legislative session in August, but Spring and Klein ISD officials said it was significantly less than the districts need. House Bill 21 would have allocated an additional $1.8 billion for public education. However, the final version of that bill—with revisions from the Senate—was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, providing only an additional $311 million for public education, KISD Chief Financial Officer Thomas Petrek said. view article arw

Abilene Independent School District administrators won't be applying for as many waivers from the Texas Education Agency this year for class size. But it's partially because elementary school enrollment took a sizable hit this year, according to Day 5 enrollment numbers finalized before the Labor Day holiday. view article arw

With no significant progress made following the special state legislative session this summer, Texas school districts must continue to balance budgets with an outdated funding formula in what some call a broken education system that heavily relies on rising property taxes. For local school districts, such as Lamar Consolidated ISD and Fort Bend ISD, school officials said over the last 10 years the districts have come to rely on rising property taxes to fund their budgets. However, this upcoming school year each district will receive more state funding than the previous year—unlike most Texas districts. view article arw

Harleton ISD adopts deficit budget

September 1208:25 AM

Harleton ISD board of trustees adopted a deficit budget and flat tax rate for the district's 2017-18 school year recently. The district adopted about a $259,000 deficit budget, projecting about $7.2 million in total revenues and about $7.5 million in total expenditures. The district also adopted a flat tax rate of $1.25 per $100 of home valuation, including $1.17 for maintenance and operations and $.08 for interest and sinking. view article arw

State auditors recently found that the Texas Education Agency failed in ensuring school districts met agency requirements and eligibility to receive money for school facility improvements. The inadequate controls garnered a high rating from auditors, which means the identified issues could substantially affect the TEA’s ability to administer the Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) if they are not addressed. view article arw

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously during an Aug. 28 workshop to approve the projected budget revenues and expenditures for the Glen Rose Independent School District’s 2017-2018 cycle. The Board will consider the proposed tax rate in a meeting on Monday, Sept. 25.  Superintendent Wayne Rotan presented the six board members in attendance with a budget proposal of $24,538,913. That represents an 8.34 percent decrease from the 2016-2017 total.  The trustees voted to approve the new budget, 6-0. Trustee Brady Brown was absent. view article arw

Slowing revenue and growing expenditures tightened the fiscal year 2017-18 budgets for Magnolia and Tomball ISDs, district officials said. Both districts approved their respective budgets in August. MISD’s nearly $103 million budget is about $2 million less than its approved budget for the previous fiscal year because of no increase in state funding, slowing property values and conservative enrollment projections, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said. However, the district ended FY 2016-17 with a surplus of more than $1 million. view article arw

 During a budget presentation on Monday evening, Ryan Kahlden congratulated and thanked the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees for achieving such items as pay raises for staff and increases in the maintenance budget all while producing a balanced budget. “With an increase in enrollment, operating expenses, salary increases, combined with decreases in state funding makes it difficult to maintain a balanced budget,” said Kahlden, Waxahachie ISD Assistant Superintendent of Budget and Finance. “We do see a revenue increase from an increase in property taxes due to higher valuations, but balancing a budget gets difficult.” view article arw

Hallsville ISD adopts surplus budget

September 0508:25 AM

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville ISD trustees have unanimously adopted a surplus 2017-18 budget and a flat tax rate.  District Chief Financial Officer Dan Arrigona said the district is projecting about a $750,000 surplus, despite facing about a $2.4 million reduction in Additional State Aid for Tax Relief funding.  Trustees adopted the budget with projected revenue at about $40 million and spending at about $39.3 million. view article arw

Eight days after the Legislature adjourned in mid-August, nearly 200 miles northwest of the Texas Capitol, Gary Strickland woke up for the first day of school at Coleman ISD after three hours of sleep with a case of the jitters. A self-described “squirrel” with the inability to stick to one interest, the Coleman High School physics and computer science teacher's task for Wednesday was to convince students that solving kinematic equations and creating infinite loops in Python code is not only interesting, but actually relevant to their daily lives. view article arw

Marshall ISD adopts balanced budget

September 0108:25 AM

Marshall ISD trustees on Thursday were able to adopt a balanced budget and a flat tax rate for the 2017-18 fiscal year but also had to enact a district-wide pay freeze to do it. Trustees adopted about a $41.4 million general fund budget for the 2017-18 school year, which did not include any big one-time expenditures like bus purchases or professional personnel hires, Marshall ISD Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services Kristin Byrd said Thursday. view article arw

Lewisville ISD adopts budget, tax rate

September 0108:15 AM

The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved its budget and tax rate for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The debt service, or I&S, tax rate will be $0.3675 per $100 valuation, which is a decrease from the $0.38 I&S rate from the 2016-17 fiscal year. view article arw

The Aransas County Independent School District took to crowdfunding to rebuild its schools after Harvey made landfall in the community of about 25,000 last week. A formal damage assessment of Aransas County ISD facilities prompted the schools to close indefinitely, Superintendent Joseph Patek announced on Facebook Wednesday. view article arw

Longview ISD trustees adopted a $71.66 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year Wednesday and kept the district's tax rate the same it's been for a decade. The deficit budget projects about $66.2 million in revenue, which is a $700,000 increase compared with 2016-17. The spending plan includes about $1.2 million in teacher and staff pay raises. Assistant Superintendent Lynn Marshall said raises and additional operations costs of opening the new Montessori campus are the only major changes from 2016-17. view article arw

It’s a good thing the Copperas Cove Independent School District Board of Trustees has a healthy fund equity balance. It may need a few dollars for increased fuel costs. view article arw

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that school districts and charters within Gov. Greg Abbott’s 58-county disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey can submit Missed School Day Waivers for any scheduled instructional days missed this week due to recent adverse weather conditions. “Hurricane Harvey hit our state as many districts prepared to begin the new school year. In some communities, the school year was already underway,” said Commissioner Morath. “High winds, heavy rains and flooding have had a devastating effect on campuses throughout a large portion of Texas. Along with everyone at the Texas Education Agency, we stand ready to assist our schools in the weeks ahead.” view article arw

“I really appreciate all the work that y’all put into that. I know it was a moving target for a while there with what the tax numbers were and everything else,” Board President Dereck Borders said. Trustees approved a $31.67 million general fund budget, a $2,172,800 food service budget and a $4,102,805 budget. The tax rate will remain $1.3092 per $100 valuation for the fifth consecutive year. view article arw

The Tatum ISD Board of Trustees has adopted a $13.1 million budget that includes a districtwide pay raise for employees and will increase the average homeowner's taxes by $10.  The district's tax rate has been increased by .007 cents to $1.207, and officials decided to move 3 cents from the debt side of its tax rate to the maintenance and operations side by refinancing two bond issue series. Brandon Milam, the district's director of school business, said that move would save the district more than $1.5 million. view article arw

The Santa Gertrudis Independent School District is facing a significant hit to its general fund balance after a drop in property values and loss of state funding resulted in the district’s board adopting a proposed 2017-18 budget Wednesday night with a deficit of nearly $1.4 million. Superintendent Corey Seymour spoke to the board during its July regular meeting about the district’s funding concerns as the district faced losing about $1.2 million in Additional State Aid in Tax Reduction, or ASATR, funding this year. “So the state took that away from us,” Seymour said during the July meeting. “We are not the only ones in that situation. There are a lot of other Chapter 41 districts. So that’s money we’ve automatically lost, and we’re not getting it back.” view article arw

Mayor Steve Adler will not pursue a tax swap with the Austin school district this year after all, but maybe next year, the mayor said Friday in a post on the City Council’s message board. “The message I’m getting from the community is that the tax swap concept is not ready yet, but I’d like to continue the conversation and see if we can get it ready for next year,” Adler wrote. view article arw

Since partnering with Cenergistic on a serious energy conservation program in October 2010, Splendora ISD has saved $2,024,567.00, according to Energy Specialist John Mays at the August Board of Trustees' meeting. Mays said that not only is the district saving taxpayer dollars but these efforts are also protecting the local environment."The decrease in energy use is the equivalent of taking 3,642 cars off local roads or planting 448,204 trees in our community," said Mays. view article arw

After being pushed to the brink of financial disaster this year, some small and rural Texas schools are hoping to limp along for the next two years, now that the Legislature has approved funding to help them recover from the closure of a critical state aid program.  The Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) program is set to expire September 1. Many small districts rely on the program, which paid out $420 million to rural Texas schools this year. A school funding “compromise” bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott on August 16 will help insulate districts from the loss with $150 million in hardship grants. Lawmakers also voted to do away with the so-called “small school penalty,” a change that will put $41 million into the coffers of some of the state’s cash-strapped districts. view article arw

Cove ISD budget hearing is Tuesday

August 2808:15 AM

The Copperas Cove Independent School District will host a public hearing to review its budget for the 2017-2018 school year at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the CCISD Central Office, 703 W. Avenue D. In a time of budget cuts and major reductions in impact aid to school districts across the country, CCISD begins the 2017-2018 school year with top marks from the state’s education agency. view article arw

During a special-called meeting Thursday, LISD trustees approved a decrease in the tax rate, a bump in substitute teacher pay and a payment plan for the replacement of iPads for students. A tax rate of $1.3697 per $100 property valuation was adopted for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1. Laredo Independent School District's current tax rate is $1.3897. view article arw

Monday, Aug. 21, was a busy day for the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, and not just because it was the first day of school. After holding a public hearing earlier in the evening, the BCISD Board of Trustees adopted the 2017-2018 budget of $28 million and a tax rate that includes a four-cent reduction in the overall tax rate from $1.32 per $100 valuation to $1.28 per $100 valuation during its regular monthly meeting. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency has received a complaint against the South San Antonio Independent School District for a possible “slush fund” that the district held. According to the letter, the person responsible for the district’s career and technical education found an account with $250,000 of CTE money in it. The letter goes on to say that there was a trip to Florida and items for the football team purchased with money, which would be “outside of the budget guidelines.” view article arw