Finding better ways to operate and fund public education has been a hot topic of debate for several years now. The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1882 two years ago and this legislative change means that the district could receive approximately $1,200 in increased state funding per student enrolled within the charter network, allowing the district to provide more resources for students and staff.  To this end, LISD partnered with East Texas Advanced Academies, a nonprofit organization, to establish six charter school campuses to take advantage of this opportunity. They are: East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Johnston-McQueen, J.L. Everhart, Bramlette, Ware East Texas Montessori and Forest Park. view article arw

Johnny Hill—Lake Travis ISD’s assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services—provided the board of trustees with an initial look into the 2020-21 school year budget during a Jan. 15 board meeting.  The LTISD five-year budget model showed an estimated tax rate decrease in 2020-21, with the rate projected at $1.3154 per $100 valuation. Residents also saw a tax rate decrease of $0.07 for the 2019-20 school year, with the adopted tax rate of $1.3375. view article arw

Manor ISD is facing a loss of $2.3 million after police say the district fell victim to an email phishing scam.  Detective Anne Lopez with the Manor Police Department says three separate fraudulent transactions happened in November.  A district employee discovered the issue in December and immediately reported it to police.  "Scams are unbiased they reach anyone anywhere any time," says Detective Lopez.  Lopez tells CBS Austin it's rare to see a scam of this magnitude involving a school district. view article arw

The Manor Independent School District is out $2.3 million after falling prey to a phishing scam. The district on Friday said the Manor Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating. view article arw

The FBI is investigating after Manor school district officials said Friday that $2.3 million had been stolen from the district in a email phishing scam, according to the district.  Manor police are assisting in the investigation. The district said there are “strong leads in the case,” but asked anyone with information to call Manor police at 512-215-8035. view article arw

Introduction: Promoted as an “education reform” to improve the learning of economically disadvantaged students, the Texas Legislature and the Commissioner of Education have been approving the expansion of privately-operated charters (“charters”) across the State of Texas. Charters are taxpayer funded, privately managed organizations that the State approves to independently operate schools in locally governed school districts. As such, charters are free to aggressively recruit students to garner the per student taxpayer funding of $10,525 from local school districts. The privatization of Texas public schools is big business. Charters will receive $3.28 billion of taxpayer funding this year. But the State does not regulate the recruiting tactics of charters and the State does not consider the best interests of students, families and taxpayers as it approves charters to rapidly expand in local communities. For example, the State is approving charters with “C” academic ratings to expand in school districts that have State provided academic ratings of “A”. view article arw

This afternoon, the Dallas Independent School District’s Board of Trustees learned of a new way to use millions of dollars of bond money: spend it on public services that are not found within a two-mile radius around some of its neediest schools. The strategy is radically different than the typical approach to a school district’s bond, which doles out money to campuses based on facility need. In fact, it doesn’t seem any school district in the nation has tried this before. view article arw

Brian Woods, Live from txEDCON19

January 0608:30 AM

Northside ISD Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods sat down with us to discuss leadership, accountability, equity, and advocacy. The 2018 Superintendent of the Year gives advice on how school boards and superintendents can work well together, the issues with A-F Accountability, and what public school advocates should focus on in the legislative interim. view article arw

For the first time since 2014-15, McKinney ISD will have to get voters' permission for the process it uses to make recapture payments. The McKinney school board voted Dec. 17 to place a measure on the May 2 ballot so voters can decide whether to pay the recapture payment through purchasing attendance credits. Recapture payments are used to redistribute funds from property-wealthy districts to those that are not as wealthy to encourage equity among schools. The district has been paying its recapture fees this way since 2014-15, a process as long as the amount of state aid received exceeded its recapture payment. view article arw

It's the season for giving and a former Conroe ISD student did just that, by giving to his alma mater. On Tuesday, Conroe ISD announced that a graduate from Conroe High School donated funds totaling over $7,000 to pay off the lunch debts of Washington Jr. High and Conroe High School students. view article arw

For the first time since 2015, the Dallas Independent School District received a rating increase by Standard & Poors (S&P) Global to AA+, one notch below the highest possible rating. The district previously held steady at a AA rating over the last four years. Additionally, S&P Global Ratings assigned its ‘AAA’ long-term and ‘AA+’ underlying ratings to Dallas ISD’S unlimited-tax school building bonds, series 2019. view article arw

Beaumont ISD received a superior ranking on its annual financial management report for the first time since 2013. It was a continued sign of financial stability after the district reported a clean audit earlier this year. The annual review — mandated by the Texas Education Agency and known as the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas — consists of 15 indicators. view article arw

Winters Independent School District officials announced that the district received a rating of “A” for “Superior Achievement” under Texas’ School FIRST financial accountability rating system. The “Superior Achievement” rating is the state’s highest, demonstrating the quality of Winters ISD’s financial management and reporting system. This is the 17th year of School FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas), a financial accountability system for Texas school districts developed by the Texas Education Agency in response to Senate Bill 875 of the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999 and amendments under House Bill 5, 83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2013. view article arw

Rusk ISD OKs security plans

December 1608:30 AM

Plans for physical and security improvements throughout Rusk ISD were unanimously approved by school board members Monday during their regular meeting. According to Superintendent Grey Burton, the project entails improving the driveways and parking lots at the junior high and high school campuses, beginning when the current school year ends, under the direction of Nacogdoches contractor Namco, Inc. view article arw

Members of the Longview ISD community will have a chance to voice their opinions Monday on two reports to trustees. The board will host a public hearing as part of its regular board meeting at 6 p.m. at the Education Support Center at 1301 E. Young St. view article arw

Public schools in Texas spent an estimated $68.8 billion during the 2018-19 academic year, a 0.7 percent increase in expenditures over the previous year, according to a National Education Association report. The change in education expenditures in Texas ranked the sixth lowest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the NEA said. The state’s public education system spent $68.3 billion during the 2017-18 school year. view article arw

One of the most politically heated battles the Dallas school board has undertaken in recent years was the decision to transform some classrooms into charters. Parents and teachers crowded meetings for months urging the board to not “privatize” any part of DISD by handing control over to outsiders. Trustees argued amongst themselves late into the evening — and well into the early morning hours — before finally agreeing earlier this year to create partnerships that allow private operators to run some DISD prekindergarten classes as charters. view article arw

Public schools in Texas spent $10,783 per student based on average daily attendance (ADA) figures, the 13th lowest expenditure level among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a National Education Association report.  The change in public school expenditures per student based on ADA data from 2016-17 to 2017-18 stood at 5.91 percent, the NEA said. view article arw

The same week Austin ISD voted to shut down four elementary schools because of a shrinking student population, the board of a neighboring school district is about to build a new elementary school. The district expects to gain thousands more students in the next five years. When school lets out at Herrington Elementary School in Round Rock, after school pickup can get kind of hectic. That's because this corner of Round Rock ISD is reeling from explosive growth. view article arw

The Kansas City School District falsified attendance data for three years in a bid to regain full accreditation from the state, according to the results of an investigation released Wednesday. Because Missouri funds schools in part based on student attendance, the manipulation led to the district being overpaid and it will have to repay money to the state. The amount the district will have to return hasn’t been determined. view article arw

The population of special education students within Lake Travis ISD has grown at a faster rate than the district anticipated. LTISD budgeted instructional allocations based on a projected 12% growth in enrollment; however, based on current enrollment data the district will require additional staff. LTISD has seen a 29% increase, or 81 new students, from the 2018-19 school year, compared to a 3.6% increase in overall district enrollment. As a result, the board of trustees approved an additional seven full-time equivalent positions during the Nov. 20 board meeting to accommodate the needs of the department. The majority of the 81 students are the result of new families moving into the district with already identified special education children, according to Laura Abott, LTISD's director of special services. view article arw

Liberty-Eylau Independent School District's financials are in good shape, according to a recent audit. Tim Holt with Thomas & Thomas CPA's presented the 2019 audit, which covered the district's finances through June 30, 2019. The report shows there are no significant deficiencies in the finances, he said. view article arw

Carroll ISD didn’t benefit as much as some districts from the Texas Legislature’s overhaul of the school finance system. The changes to school funding were hailed as a remarkable achievement and a boost to public education across the state. But as the dust settles on HB 3 and SB 2, it turns out that not all school districts are benefiting equally. view article arw

House Bill 3, which passed in June, provided Eanes ISD with less financial assistance than neighboring school districts in Central Texas, and consequently, according to EISD, the district needs to evaluate current and future budget deficits. EISD said the 2019-20 $2.3 million budget deficit was in part due to the 4.5% compensation increase allocated to all staff members June 19. The possibility of adding to the district’s golden penny fund to make up for the lack of funds and immediate financial assistance from HB 3 was discussed during a Nov. 19 regular board meeting in a presentation by EISD Chief Financial Officer Chris Scott. view article arw

Austin ISD has addressed its controversial plan to close a number of schools ahead of a press conference on Monday. In a statement, the school district acknowledged that it was one of the biggest benefactors of House Bill 3. view article arw

Tyler Independent School District thanked community partners during its annual State of the District on Thursday. Each year the district highlights successes and opportunities for growth at the annual luncheon, but this year there was a special focus on the community members and local lawmakers who helped guide school finance reform in this year’s legislative session. view article arw

The 40,300-student Leander school district again will need to prepare for an influx of new arrivals. Leander remains the fastest-growing district in Central Texas, having added nearly 4,600 students — more than any other Austin-area school district — from 2013 to 2018, the latest district demographics report shows. view article arw

In recognition of the district’s ongoing efforts to ensure greater accountability and transparency, Spring ISD was awarded a Transparency Star by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Comptroller Glenn Hegar recently announced Spring ISD is among the latest local government entities to achieve the transparency goals outlined through the state’s Transparency Stars program. “By providing meaningful financial data in addition to visual tools and analysis of its revenues and expenditures, Spring ISD has shown a true commitment to Texas taxpayers. This effort achieves the goals set by my office’s Transparency Stars program,” Hegar said in a press release. “I am pleased to award Spring ISD a star for its accomplishments.” view article arw

In Texas, as in many other states, when the talk is of teacher pay, it’s often about how little they make, how many of them must work a second job to pay the bills. Which is why, apparently, Texas sets a minimum pay figure for teachers. With school administrators and non-teaching professionals, the conversation is more likely to be about how high their salaries, or extra benefits, or severance packages are. There’s no need to set required minimums. view article arw

Standard and Poor’s has upgraded Barbers Hill ISD’s credit rating from AA to AA+. The agency noted the district’s added support of the Barbers Hill ISD Education Foundation, financial management with healthy reserves, and management practices and policies in assigning this high-quality credit rating.   Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole stated, “This stronger rating places BHISD in an elite group of the top 20 school districts in the state financially and indicates the faith the financial community has in our school board and business office leadership. Our taxpayers will benefit from lower interest rates as a result of wise financial practices, and Assistant Superintendent of Finance Becky McManus and her staff are to be commended.” Moody’s Investor Service affirmed the district’s Aa2 rating, citing the “district’s large and growing tax base, dominated by economic concentration in oil and gas and petrochemical sectors, and favorable resident income indices. The rating also reflects the consistent trend of favorable financial performance and materially higher reserves relative to peers…”  Barbers Hill ISD’s strong financial management was recognized by Moody’s in 2015 when they upgraded the district to Aa2. view article arw

New state mandated full-day pre-kindergarten comes with some funding, but not enough for the Arlington school district to make all the needed renovations and additions. The district, which offers half-day pre-kindergarten, expects the early childhood offering to double the required classroom space. view article arw

Millsap ISD board of trustees approved a resolution to pay off bond debt, totaling $735,000, during the school board meeting on Monday evening at Millsap Administration Board Room/Media Center. The debt was paid for using interest and sinking tax revenue and about $357,000 from the interest and sinking fund balance, Superintendent Deann Lee said. “That’ll still leave us about $970,000 in our I&S fund balance, so we’re still in good shape,” Lee said. view article arw

A very important issue will be presented to taxpayers in Broaddus in November considering whether voters will approve Broaddus Independent School District purchasing enrollment credits from the state of Texas. Broaddus ISD recently fell into Chapter 49, also known as the Robin Hood program. The program was launched in 1993 to take funding from school districts with higher property values within their boundaries and give it to poorer school districts which can’t raise much money, according to the Texas Education Agency. view article arw

Texas pre-K programs are just scraping by after losing millions of dollars last year — and without sustainable funding, they could see greater problems down the line, school officials say. During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers decided not to fund a $118 million high-quality pre-K grant program that was created in 2015 and championed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The money had gone to 573 districts and charter schools that pledged to meet measures such as setting a lower student-teacher ratio, avoiding Common Core curricula and reporting student progress to the state. view article arw

Burnet school district officials were probably expecting to get more than two years from the synthetic turf installed at Bulldog Field in 2015, but that didn’t happen and it’s now set the district back $150,000. Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett, however, said the district is looking to get $105,000 back from one manufacturer. Last year, officials noticed some turf fibers sticking up higher than others, so they took a closer look, McBurnett said. “To most people, it probably wasn’t noticeable,” he said. “We had all the experts look at the field, and they looked at the backside. It needed to be replaced.” view article arw