Huckabee | Architecture | Engineering | Management

March 19, 2018 - 9 a.m. Agenda* William B. Travis Building - Room 1-104 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, TX  The meetings will be webcast at:    *Please note: Public testimony will be limited to three minutes per person and sign up sheets will be posted on this website two days prior to the meeting and available at the meeting. For those unable to attend the meeting for public testimony, written testimony can be emailed to view article arw

As Texas' school finance commission is set hold its next hearing, some members and policy experts are arguing the hearings seem set toward a predetermined outcome — making schools do more with the funding they have.  A state panel responsible for proposing improvements to Texas' embattled public school finance system is facing criticism from an unexpected source: some of its own members, who say the panel's hearings seem geared toward a predetermined outcome of making schools do more with their current funding. view article arw

The battle over whether public money should be spent on private school tuition played out at polls across the state this month and will continue in runoff contests on May 22.  Public school teachers, who launched a noteworthy get-out-the-vote campaign, and supporters of so-called private school choice ended the March 2 Texas House primaries in a draw. view article arw

Sealy ISD Chief Financial Officer Jim Obermeier presented the management and operations budget for the 2017-2018 school year during a workshop last week. Superintendent Sheryl Moore said the budget is similar to those the district has been using for the past few years. The school system is receiving $12.8 million in local revenue, $10.5 million from the state and $300,000 from the federal government for a total of $23.7 million. Most of the spending is going to instruction costs at $13.7 million which is nearly 58 percent of the total costs. view article arw

The state has little to show by the way of public school finance reform as we approach the second anniversary of a Texas Supreme Court ruling that found the system deeply flawed but constitutional. Forgive us for being naive, but we expected state leaders to get moving quickly on improving the antiquated public school finance system after the May 2016 ruling.  Its message seemed pretty clear. view article arw

Waiting on K-12 review

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This is Kansas but Dr. Lori Taylor will be a player in developing Texas cost studies as well. - js -   This is the week the Legislature gets the $200,000-plus consultant review of just what she believes it ought to cost to operate the state’s 286 public school districts.  Former Kansan and now Texas A&M professor Dr. Lori Taylor is apparently conservative on spending and is dissecting school spending based largely on labor costs and costs for students who require extra services such as instruction in proficiency in the English language, disabilities and other health issues. view article arw

The Texas Commission on Public School Finance met for the fourth time March 8 to discuss classroom-, campus-, and district-level efficiency, hearing testimony from various school superintendents from across the state in addition to district partners, an economist from Washington University and the CEO of IDEA charter schools. While the topics of effective programs at campuses and districts varied from early college high schools to “blended” models allowed under districts of innovation, a constant refrain throughout the meeting was the need for additional state resources to scale successful programs across the state. view article arw

The Houston ISD school board gave the district the go-ahead to cut staff, equating to hundreds of jobs, according to the school board president. At Thursday night's board meeting 7-year-old Sophie Lowe stole hearts. She walked up to the podium to speak. She spoke in Spanish and then delivered the same message in English. view article arw

A couple of years ago, half listening to the radio on my morning commute, I heard a piece of an interview that’s dogged my thoughts ever since. A woman, who lived in an impoverished country all her life, started an education revolution in her community so simple and so successful that in a matter of years, the program had spread through the entire country. See, I wasn’t listening well enough to know the name of the country. What’s stuck with me, is the shoestring budget she started with. view article arw

Carthage ISD has sent nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to the state of Texas since it imposed recapture in 1998, while receiving less than half that in state funds to operate the largest school system in Panola County. SuperintendentGlenn Hambrick released figures when district trustees approved ... view article arw

If Austin lawmakers needed more evidence about the critical need for more public school funding, a new study on how well — and not so well — Dallas County students are achieving should convince them. The annual scorecard from the education nonprofit Commit that tracks 500,000 Dallas County students shows the students are making small but steady gains on the key third-grade reading assessment. That's the encouraging news. The frustrating news is that districts in this region still have a long way to go on closing achievement gaps and in getting students ready, enrolled and graduating from college. view article arw

Another area school district is dealing with a multi-million financial deficit. South San Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra said the district is losing enrollment and isn’t receiving additional funds from the State. That’s put the district in a more than 7-million-dollar deficit. view article arw

Meaningful school finance reform will only happen if lawmakers come together to make necessary investments in education. The 5.3 million students enrolled in Texas’ public school systems have waited for a solution long enough, and it’s time for our elected officials to take action. view article arw

The Texas Commission on Public School Finance will be meeting on March 19 at 9am in Austin at the William B. Travis Building. This will be the only scheduled Commission meeting where both invited and public testimony will take place.  The Equity Center will be providing testimony to the Commission on policy proposals to improve the current system of funding our schools, and it is important that Commission members hear about how reforms would benefit your school districts.  read more arw

I wanted to clear some things up in regards to Bruce Luerson’s guest column (“You should vote against the TCISD bond proposition,” The Daily News, Feb. 26) regarding the Texas City Independent School District bond issue and its relation to Chapter 41 status. view article arw

Houston ISD has a lot to focus on while preparing for the 2018-2019 school year, including tackling the $115 million budget shortfall. view article arw

The Henderson ISD school board is considering a proposal to help level out annual pay increases for teachers. The board first heard the plan during a presentation Tuesday night by Superintendent Keith Boles. “We want to be more competitive for our teachers, reduce the turnover rate and help attract quality teachers to our schools,” said Boles. view article arw

Texas Commission on Public School Finance Wednesday, March 7, 2018 9:00 a.m. Room 1-104, William B. Travis Building view article arw

Right now, the North East Independent School District is hurting financially. “We are losing students,” said Aubrey Chancellor with NEISD. Chancellor says fewer students means less funding from the State. Already this year, hundreds of students have left the district. view article arw

At the outset of the 2017-18 school year, North East Independent School District Superintendent Brian Gottardy wrote to district residents, describing NEISD’s financial situation as “dire.” Gottardy explained that because of financial constraints, the district could not afford raises for its employees. Campus faculty and staff complain of other restrictions on heating and air conditioning that shut off shortly after the final bell rings, even though students, administrators, and teachers remain on campus. view article arw

Every kid needs a playground according to the Louise ISD board, which continues to seek grants for updated equipment for student and community use. Rhonda Bremser, the elementary dyslexia/reading specialist, wrote grant proposals to replace 21-year-old equipment located on the northeast side of the middle school. view article arw

Huffman Independent School District unveiled plans for several projects to prevent future flooding during a board of trustees meeting Feb. 26. The projects will be funded by Huffman ISD initially while the district awaits reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. view article arw

Houston ISD administrators do not expect to cut magnet programs or re-open the magnet application process ahead of the 2018-19 school year, an announcement likely to ease fears among parents who send their children to choice schools. Houston ISD leaders said Monday they are lowering the district’s projected budget deficit from about $209 million to $115 million, which would dramatically reduce the level of potential staff and program cuts. view article arw

Houston ISD administrators do not expect to cut magnet programs or re-open the magnet application process ahead of the 2018-19 school year, an announcement likely to ease fears among parents who send their children to choice schools. Houston ISD leaders said Monday they are lowering the district’s projected budget deficit from about $209 million to $115 million, which would dramatically reduce the level of potential staff and program cuts. view article arw

When Katharine Margiotta and her family go out to eat, she has to read restaurant menus to her 13-year-old son, who struggles to write letters of the alphabet and guesses most words in his reading assignments. Any teacher should immediately realize he has dyslexia, the most common learning disability, she said. Yet she's been fighting for years to get Austin ISD to provide high-quality services to help her son learn to read. Now her son is in seventh grade — much older than the age studies say intensive reading instruction is likely to help remediate the disorder — and extremely frustrated with battling his way through classes. view article arw

Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 2 dated 02/14/2018) that is now available for download.  This new release loads the preliminary 2017 values as certified by the Comptroller’s office, as well as makes other minor adjustments.  As always, please stay tuned for any new developments. read more arw

2017-18 LPE_DPE Template (r5,wb7)

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We have posted a revised 2017-18 LPE_DPE Template (r5,wb7) to include current "payment",  Comp. Ed. data, excess tax collections, and eligible debt.  According to Omar, his r2 template does not change our 2017-18 template. view article arw

Feb 22, 2018 - 9 a.m.  Meeting Agenda William B. Travis Building - Room 1-104 - 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, TX  - The meetings will be webcast at:    read more arw

After lawmakers last year failed to overhaul how the state funds its public colleges and universities, a special committee on Wednesday will begin a new attempt to review the complicated higher education finance system in Texas. Complaints have crescendoed about eroding government support for higher education. But at stake in the coming months is not how much money Texas pumps into its colleges and universities. It’s whether the state’s method of disbursing nearly $3 billion per year to those schools through formulas and direct appropriations is due for a comprehensive makeover. view article arw

Lawmakers say local property taxes are getting too high. School leaders say the taxes are increasing because the state is taking on a smaller share of public education funding. Hey Texplainer, what's really happening? view article arw

The superintendent also signaled that he and the board are looking to develop a capital campaign that could call for a series of four bond elections over the next 20 years.  Before a crowd of over 1,000 people at the Hilton Las Americas downtown, Superintendent Richard Carranza defended early plans to overhaul how the district distributes funds to campuses and other plans to deal with a myriad of challenges facing the Houston Independent School District. view article arw

School finance expert David Thompson addressed a room full of superintendents and City leaders Tuesday afternoon with a simple analogy: School finance is like a water bottle. Holding up the bottle, Thompson presented basic principles of Texas public school finance to members of City Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee and educational leaders. view article arw

FORT WORTH  Tarrant County is now front and center in the fight to lower property taxes. County Judge Glen Whitley has drawn statewide attention for preaching what he believes — that Texans pay high property taxes because the state has long cut back on what it spends to educate public school students — and now a group of local state senators is firing back. view article arw

Every two years, the Texas Legislature meets to provide funding for school districts to cover the cost of operations, personnel and educating students. As the Texas Legislature concluded the 85th legislative session this past June, there was still no change in the existing school finance system to fund Texas public schools. House Bill 21 required the legislature to establish the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to develop and make recommendations to the current public school finance system or create a new method of funding for Texas public schools. view article arw

Though nearly a half year since Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, the post-storm effects seem to be just as damaging. Just days after the Houston ISD projected a $208 million shortfall next school year because of Harvey and the recovery afterward, a school board member talked about what cuts could come because of the pending shortfall. Those include consolidating bus routes, meaning longer rides to and from school. It could mean cutting custodial staff and reducing classroom cleaning to just once a week. It could mean a reduction in cafeteria staffs and on-campus security. view article arw