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Frisco ISD is officially on the road to getting state funding for its online learning program. On Tuesday, the Frisco ISD board of trustees approved a resolution to operate a local remote learning program as allowed under state law. After Texas Senate Bill 15 was passed during the second session of the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, school districts found themselves with a way to provide online schooling this school year with secured attendance-based funding from the state, an option that wasn’t on the table when the school year began. view article arw

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD trustees approved a resolution on Thursday that will allow the district to receive funding for students attending school virtually. Funding for the program will be retroactive. The resolution allows the district to operate a local remote learning program and receive average daily attendance funding for both synchronous and asynchronous models. Attendance for synchronous instruction will be taken at 8:30 a.m. for elementary campuses and 10 a.m. for middle school campuses. Attendance will be based on active on-screen participation in each classroom. view article arw

SAN BENITO — After more than two months of debate, the split school board is launching a forensic audit focusing on concerns including a delayed $40 million construction project and questions surrounding staff qualifications, board President Ramiro Moreno said Monday. Now, Moreno is planning to call on board members to meet with the Fort Worth-based auditing firm of Weaver Tidwell to narrow the audit’s scope to try to keep its cost to about $150,000, he said. “We can ask what to address within reason,” he said. “We need to prioritize.” view article arw

Release Date: ROUND 1 – 10/04/2021 Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has started a new series of the template that is now available for download. This new release deletes the oldest year and adds a new year at the end. Also, most of the 20-21 “near final” student counts are now loaded, as well as the 2020 final Comptroller values (see the Notes tab). As always, please stayed tuned for any updates – there will probably be some.  To download the SOF template from the ESC 13 website, Click On  “Round1 – 10/04/2021” or “Download the template”    (09) view article arw

Burnet Consolidated Independent School District residents can cast their ballots in the early voting portion of the Attendance Credit Election on weekdays Monday, Sept. 27, through Friday, Oct. 8. Early voting is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the BCISD Central Office, 208 E. Brier St. in Burnet. Election Day is Tuesday, Oct. 12, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the central office. The measure is part of the state of Texas recapture, or Robin Hood law, established in 1993, which directs property-wealthy school districts to send a portion of their locally collected property taxes back to the state for redistribution to lower property-wealthy districts.    (28) view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Among nine other school communities, Tornillo ISD was selected for a ten-month-long cohort program from a national non-profit organization, Transcend, to reimagine schools in rural communities, district officials said. “We are honored and beyond excited to be selected as a grantee in the Rural Schools Design Community with Transcend. Rural schools serve their communities beyond the classroom walls, and it is for this very important reason that we must focus on transforming the learning community from the time a child is born to the time they become productive citizens of their respective communities,” said Rosy Vega-Barrio, superintendent of the Tornillo Independent School District. “This network will provide us with the partnerships and tools needed to make Tornillo a thriving community centered on education.” view article arw

Biggest settle-up payment for the district from TEA - PREMONT, Texas — Premont Independent School District received the biggest settle-uppayment from the Texas Education Agency for the district on Monday, receiving a payment of around $1.5 million for its increased enrollment.  In 2017, the school district had 483 students enrolled and increased that number to more than 750 students in September 2021. Superintendent Steve VanMatre said they were able to increase their enrollment over the years because of two reasons.  One, they have great teachers who bring in great students, he said. view article arw

In a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas senators were furious that natural gas companies won’t have to better prepare their facilities for extreme weather before this winter and rebuked the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s massive oil and gas industry, for not fixing the problem sooner. “Wait a minute,” state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, told Wei Wang, executive director of the Railroad Commission. “You haven’t done it yet?” But the “loophole” that lawmakers spent the hearing condemning and the slow timetable for winterizing the state power grid were part of legislation they approved during the regular legislative session in the spring. view article arw

In a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas senators were furious that natural gas companies won’t have to better prepare their facilities for extreme weather before this winter and rebuked the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s massive oil and gas industry, for not fixing the problem sooner. “Wait a minute,” state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, told Wei Wang, executive director of the Railroad Commission. “You haven’t done it yet?” But the “loophole” that lawmakers spent the hearing condemning and the slow timetable for winterizing the state power grid were part of legislation they approved during the regular legislative session in the spring. view article arw

Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde pointed out barriers to receiving COVID-19-related funding at a Sept. 23 district board of trustees meeting. The first wave of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allotted $1.28 billion to Texas schools, of which $17 million was earmarked for AISD. “We saw no dollars,” Elizalde said of the first chunk of ESSER funds. AISD’s total 2021-22 school year budget is $1.7 billion. view article arw

The Plano ISD Board of Trustees and Plano City Council convened for a special joint session Thursday evening to discuss, among other things, the financial impact the district’s attendance credit program has on the Plano community. Texas School Coalition Executive Director Christy Rome gave a presentation to the joint bodies about the financial implications of this program, often referred to as “recapture” or “Robin Hood.” Under recapture, school districts use property tax revenue to purchase attendance credits from state authorities, who in turn allocate the funds to poorer school districts. view article arw

Weslaco school board members will publicly discuss its long-awaited forensic audit Monday evening. That audit has dragged on months longer than expected. In late July the board discussed the preliminary findings of that audit along with then-superintendent Priscilla Canales’ “future plans with Weslaco ISD” in executive session. Canales subsequently resigned her post, a full school year ahead of the retirement date she announced last winter. She announced her original retirement date days after the audit’s launch. view article arw

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — There are 16 elementary campuses within the Wichita Falls Independent School District, and the excessive number of facilities is causing budget problems. In Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Mike Kuhrt predicted the district could receive about $4 million less in federal funding, partly due to having fewer students and too much staff. “This is so frustrating. The budget is really hard. It’s going to be really hard,” Kuhrt said. “It’s not going to be nice this year going into next year.” view article arw

This is the 18th school year district has earned state’s highest financial accountability rating  - The Texas Education Agency has awarded the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District with a Superior “A” Rating as part of its Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  read more arw

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A new Texas law is offering up funding for school districts that want to or already have remote learning programs if its students have met certain previous learning benchmarks. Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 15 into law last week. In order for a school to qualify, its students requesting to learn outside the classroom must have passed their STAAR exams, earned a C grade or higher in core curriculum courses and have no more than 10 percent unexcused absences the previous year. Additionally, online school can only be offered to 10 percent of the district’s overall enrollment. view article arw

Wichita Falls Independent School District Superintendent Michael Kuhrt dished up a gloom-and-doom assessment to school board trustees when they met Tuesday, painting a bleak future of lower revenue, declining enrollment, rising absenteeism, excessive staffing and excessive elementary schools. “This is so frustrating. It’s not going to be nice this year going into next year,” Kuhrt said. The district may get $4 million less in federal funding than anticipated because of what he called a “shell game.” Additionally, Kuhrt said the district faces an immediate enrollment dilemma view article arw

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A new Texas law is offering up funding for school districts that want to or already have remote learning programs if its students have met certain previous learning benchmarks. Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 15 into law last week. In order for a school to qualify, its students requesting to learn outside the classroom must have passed their STAAR exams, earned a C grade or higher in core curriculum courses and have no more than 10 percent unexcused absences the previous year. Additionally, online school can only be offered to 10 percent of the district’s overall enrollment. view article arw

Garland ISD is planning on expanding its virtual learning options, the district announced in a letter to families. This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Thursday that expands access to virtual learning and makes state funding available for school districts with online programs. The new bill allows Garland ISD to open its ICON Virtual School as an accredited program for kindergarten through sixth grade. Under the new state law, SB15, pre-K education is not eligible for fully funded remote learning. view article arw

Homeowners in the Austin school district could see their taxes go up by an average of almost $300 under the district's new proposed tax rate. The proposed tax rate of $1.0617 is 4 cents lower than last year's rate and the district's lowest in 20 years, but it will translate to an average tax increase of $276.12 for the average home valued at $472,823. view article arw

As the San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees prepares for its September 30 regular meeting, a financial workshop is planned. Attached to the data on the agenda for the pre-board meeting to be held Monday, September 13, are line items indicating millions were being spent with Apple over the summer. According to the district checkbook ledgers from June, July, and August, the following checks written to Apple Computer: view article arw

COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove Independent School district budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 is set after the board of trustees unanimously adopted it during a special meeting Tuesday evening. Overall, the budget calls for $84.3 million of expenditures across the three major funds the district operates with — general fund, debt services fund and the child nutrition services fund. The district will have to reach into its fund specifically designated for the debt services in the amount of $79,619 to cover a difference in projected expenditures and projected revenues, Joe Burns, the district’s superintendent, told the board Tuesday evening. view article arw

KILGORE — Kilgore ISD has adopted its 2021-22 budget and a lower tax rate. Chief Financial Officer Revard Pfeffer told board trustees revenues decreased this past year largely because of the impact of COVID-19, but the budget for the next year looks similar to the previous one. “General fund revenues are $35,612,844, which is about $800,000 less than it was a year ago,” Pfeffer said. The budget has three main components: the general fund, food service fund and the debt service fund, known as interest and sinking, or I&S. The general fund receives revenue at the federal, state and local level. view article arw

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville ISD trustees have approved a lower tax rate and surplus budget for the 2021-22 school year. The spending plan that has a surplus of about $35,000 was adopted recently by the board. The budget also includes a 5% one-time incentive payment for all district employees. Trustees also voted to increase the district’s contribution to the Teacher Retirement System monthly health insurance premiums by an additional $25. The board also increased that contributed this past year by about $50 per month. The $137.5 million general fund budget, which includes revenue from the district’s brick and mortar schools as well as its Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville, also includes the purchase of new turf at the high school practice field, which Hallsville ISD Chief Financial Officer Mary Brown said has outlived its 10-year lifespan. view article arw

Central Texas has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation, and one town that’s particularly booming is Hutto. Schools have seen enrollment surge over the years, and now there are talks of building another high school. “We have people moving here in droves,” said LaKesha Whitfield, Hutto ninth-grade center principal. “We have companies coming here, we have a lot of families that are finding out we have great school districts.” view article arw

Marshall ISD trustees on Monday unanimously adopted a decreased tax rate and balanced budget, which included a pay scale raise for teachers. The trustees on Monday voted to unanimously adopt about a $45 million balanced budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year which begins on Sept. 1. In the budget was a 4 percent pay scale raise for all teachers, which make up about 465 of the district’s almost 800 employees. In addition to the 4 percent teacher pay scale increase, trustees also added an annual $500 payment for all teachers that have been with the district 20 years or more, with the payments topping out at 25 years. This year’s general fund budget also included two school bus purchases at about $110,000 each and the purchase of an early childhood school bus at a cost of about $114,000. The new buses all come equipped with air conditioning. view article arw

Trustees with the Copperas Cove ISD school board are expected to adopt the budget and property tax rate for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 on Tuesday evening. According to the agenda for the special meeting, the district is proposing a property tax rate of $1.04092 per $100 valuation, which is more than 8 cents lower than the current rate. Broken down, that amounts to 96.965 cents per $100 valuation for the purpose of maintenance and operations and 7.127 cents per $100 valuation for the purpose of principal and interest on voter approved debt. view article arw

The Lufkin school board approved the budget and tax rate for the 2021-22 school year as well as staff incentives related to COVID-19 during a special meeting Thursday night. The budget for the 2021-22 school year includes an expected total revenue, with local, state and federal funding, of $78,985,187. The expenditure total is expected to be $78,808,202. The rate approved for the property tax year was $1.2533 — .9913 cents for maintenance and operations and .262 for interest and sinking. This is a 7-cent decrease from last year — a decrease of 4.68 cents on the M&O side and a decrease of 2.4 cents on the I&S side. The board also approved a paid 10-day COVID-19 relief plan for its staff members. “One of the things that I think is disturbing about what we’re allowed to do now by TEA and the governor is that they took away the federal ability to offer staff members 10 days of COVID leave,” she said. To receive the relief, employees must have a lab-confirmed positive test in their household, as the district recognizes some of its teachers have to stay home to take care of others. The relief will be retroactive to the first contract day of the year, as so many employees have already extended some of the days, Torres said. view article arw

TEXAS — The federal government has poured some $190 billion into the nation's schools since March 2020 to help offset the costs of coping with the coronavirus pandemic — more than four times what the U.S. Education Department spends on K-12 schools in a typical year. About $17.1 billion of that total went to Texas schools, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Relying on data published or provided by states and the federal government, the AP also tallied how much money was granted to nearly every school district in the state and country. view article arw

In a district as large as Dallas Independent School District, it's inevitable that someone is going to miss a day of school, but school leaders have noticed an increased number of absences this school year. "We've definitely spoken with families who are concerned about COVID, rising cases with the Delta variant, concerns about young children who can’t get vaccinated," said Susana Cordova, Deputy Superintendent of Leading and Learning at DISD. view article arw

Alto ISD is planning to order Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) on Nov. 2, 2021, to take advantage of the state finance formula to restructure the tax rate. If approved by voters, the district would receive $740,000 in additional funding while decreasing the local tax rate by one penny. The VATRE would allow Alto ISD to restructure its tax rate, essentially decreasing its Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate by a penny, while keeping the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate unchanged. Therefore, total tax rate would be $1.5319, one cent lower than last year’s tax rate. view article arw

With extra funds coming to Midlothian ISD and a select few other school districts, the MISD board of trustees decided how to spend the money during its Aug. 16 regular monthly meeting. The board agreed to hire three new personnel using “ESSER SUPP” funds, which is leftover money from the state’s block allotment of federally-provided ESSER III funds as part of the American Recovery Plan. The positions are for an instructional paraprofessional for MILE/LEAP, and elementary and secondary AI specialists. view article arw

Copperas Cove ISD has committed a portion of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grant money to expanding its food pantries. This comes after surveying parents and the communities to find that providing food for students outside of the school day was one of the top five choices on how to spend the money. view article arw

The Leander Independent School District welcomed back nearly 40,000 students for in-person learning this week. Leander ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 34 COVID-19 cases this week. The vast majority of those are staff, either on or off campus, but there is one student who tested positive on Thursday at Glenn High School. view article arw