After Pearland ISD’s voter-approval tax rate election failed, the district is left without the $10 million it would have received had the measure passed. While district officials were disappointed the measure failed, it is not surprising, Superintendent John Kelly said in an email. view article arw

Denton ISD officials hope to have 20 more teachers hired, trained and working in time for the spring semester to start in mid-January. The teachers would be hired to teach exclusively students learning remotely across high school courses determined to have the highest need. Just over 72% of Denton ISD students were enrolled in face-to-face learning Tuesday evening, according to a presentation given to school board members during their regular meeting. view article arw

The Harlandale ISD board of trustees on Monday voted to give all full-time district employees a $1,000 stipend to compensate for the difficult school year they have faced amid the coronavirus pandemic. view article arw

The coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices are driving down projected general revenue in the state's current budget by more than $11 billion.  Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar delivered bleak but unsurprising news Monday: Because of the economic fallout triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the amount of general revenue available for the state’s current two-year budget is projected to be roughly $11.5 billion less than originally estimated. That puts the state on track to end the biennium, which runs through August 2021, with a deficit of nearly $4.6 billion, Hegar said.  The coronavirus pandemic has steered the economy into the path of a recession. Here's the latest.  Those figures are a significant downward revision from Hegar’s last revenue estimate in October 2019, when the comptroller said the state would have over $121 billion to spend on its current budget and end the biennium with a surplus of nearly $2.9 billion. The state, Hegar said, will now have roughly $110 billion to work with for the current budget. view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) filed Senate Bill 177 Thursday, which allows for the continued and permanent use of Individual Graduation Committees.  Students and school districts around the state have benefited from the availability of IGCs since 2015, and SB 177 finally removes the termination date of this valuable option in state law, according to Seliger.  "As we look to the 87th Legislative Session, I can't help but look back over the last six school years and think about the almost 59,000 Texas high school graduates that have been able to go on and serve in the military, earn a workforce credential, or attend college because of earning their diploma through an Individual Graduation Committee," Seliger said. "Last school year's cancellation of state-mandated assessments and the current school year's uncertainty provide further justification for making IGCs permanent." view article arw

As of Monday, Nov.16, Austin ISD has increased the pay for substitute teachers and teaching assistants, with a potential of $210 per day for certified teachers. The district said it is currently accepting applications for the 2020-21 school year. “Benefits of being a substitute teacher include the flexibility to work as many days as desired, providing instruction on a variety of subjects and working directly with students in a dynamic classroom setting,” Austin ISD said in a release. view article arw

TEXAS, USA — Across the country, public schools are seeing a decline in enrollment amid the coronavirus pandemic. The KVUE Defenders found even in Central Texas, where the population continues to grow, schools across the area report drops in the number of students attending school.  Why does this matter? School funding is based in large part on enrollment. view article arw

BUDA, – The Buda City Council has adopted a resolution authorizing the city to provide the Hays Consolidated Independent School District (Hays CISD) with up to $50,000 in federal funding for coronavirus related expenses.  As part of an interlocal agreement with Hays CISD, the $50,000 will come from federal funds allocated to the city of Buda through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). view article arw

On Friday, every Duncanville ISD school staffer will receive a $2,000 bonus– a ‘not-so-little’ thank you for extraordinary effort to keep serving students and their families during the pandemic. “You can say all day, ‘we appreciate you’,” says Tiara Richard, Chief Communications Officer for Duncanville ISD, “but, to actually receive something from the board, from the district.. it means a lot. So we are hearing from our employees, just saying ‘thank you’.” view article arw

Leadership for the El Paso Independent School District will be a topic of discussion this week. Superintendent Juan Cabrera could be leaving the school district and an interim superintendent could be named soon, according to a meeting agenda. A special board meeting with school board trustees is scheduled for Thursday. view article arw

A Houston ISD landscaping and maintenance vendor overbilled the district by $6 million over seven years as part of a kickback scheme involving former Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby, prosecutors alleged this week.  Newly filed court records show prosecutors believe Southwest Wholesale LLC, a longtime HISD contractor owned by former pro football player Anthony Hutchison, repeatedly billed HISD for mowing services that it did not perform but still received payment at the direction of Busby.  Prosecutors allege that Hutchison paid kickbacks to Busby, who moved about $2.3 million in cash over the course of five years between bank accounts he owned. They also allege Hutchison’s companies performed $83,000 in renovations on the top-ranking administrator’s Cypress home as part of the scheme, with no evidence of Busby paying for the upgrades.    (30) view article arw

Caldwell County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a motion that will allow staff to pursue options looking to using the county’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to help offset distance learning and telecommunication costs incurred by three local school districts. County Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke touched on some of the difficulties the three districts have faced in midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  “We are all woefully aware of the impact the coronavirus has had on our lives, commerce, the delivery of education platforms, etc.,” said Engelke. “The three independent school districts in the county – Lockhart, Luling and Prairie Lea – have taken proactive postures in addressing and incorporating distance learning and educational enhancements to allow students to continue their learning from home. view article arw

Due to lower-than-projected student enrollment numbers, Katy ISD is expecting less state revenue for the 2020-21 school year. The KISD board of trustees approved a budget amendment Oct. 26 decreasing the general fund revenue by $15.3 million to recognize the actual enrollment numbers, which is not only also a statewide problem, but a nationwide issue, KISD CFO Christopher Smith said. “We are 3.2% under what we budgeted [for the 2020-21 school year enrollment], but we do have as many students as we ended the year with last year,” Smith said. “So, we’re not down; we’re just not up as much as we thought.” view article arw

Repost! - js - The Texas Legislature has been experimenting with public education students for 25 years. The experiment directs a separate system of taxpayer funded, privately managed charter schools (“State Charters”) to recruit students from locally governed school districts. The experiment is based upon the premise that school districts offer limited high-quality schools for low-income students and therefore, State Charters are needed to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education. Like most publicly funded experiments involving private corporations, State Charters have targeted the recruitment of the most vulnerable students in the public education system, low-income and minority families. But despite the State diverting over $25 billion of taxpayer funding from local school districts to fund its separate system of privately managed schools, State Charters are enrolling African American students at low- performing schools and displacing African American students by closing low-performing schools at an alarming rate. view article arw

At their October meeting, the Conroe ISD Board of Trustees received information from Darrin Rice, Conroe ISD CFO, and John Roebuck, BOK Financial Advisors, detailing a savings of nearly $90 million as a result of bond refunding and new bond sales. Earlier this month, Conroe ISD was able refund $199,630,000 in bonds for an interest cost savings of $50,067,475, or approximately $3.5 million a year for 14 years. The District was also able to issue $165,090,000 in new bonds for over $38 million less in interest costs than what was estimated in the 2019 November bond referendum. These combined transactions equate to a savings of nearly $90 million. view article arw

The Eanes school district on Monday announced the 27 members of the newly formed Diversity Equity Inclusion Advisory Committee. The final list was approved by the school board at its last meeting, and the committee will report to the board.  The committee is comprised of a staff member from each campus, a parent from each campus, a student from each middle school and two high school students, two community members, two principals and one central administrator.  The committee will work with district consultant Mark Gooden and the administration to help enhance community, staff and student racial awareness, and to cultivate an environment of understanding, according to a statement released by the district. view article arw

CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) The Cedar Hill Independent School District was honored for the second consecutive year for financial reporting, by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The specific award was a “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting” for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2019. view article arw

Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 7 dated 10/26/2020) that is now available for download.  This new release incorporates the 3rd six weeks ADA hold harmless provision and makes several changes that effect the Formula Transition Grant calculations (see Notes tab).  As always, please stay tuned for any new developments – there will probably be some.    (29) read more arw

Texas public school students with severe cognitive disabilities could receive up to $1,500 for tutoring, therapy, and other support services to address any learning disruptions suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.  The Texas Education Agency and Gov. Greg Abbott announced the creation of the $30 million effort — the Supplementary Special Education Services program — on Wednesday. view article arw

The EPISD Cares Fund has raised more than $126,000 through contributions and matching funds since April 15, ensuring thousands of struggling families in the El Paso community eat during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The total amount translates to 882,000 meals provided through El Pasoans Fighting Food Bank. They represent contributions made through the EPISD Cares Fund and purchases of EPISD merchandise sales through Proper Printshop. view article arw

A hiccup in virtual learning is causing frustration for Dallas Independent School District teachers and potentially costing the district money. NBC 5’s Wayne Carter reports. view article arw

U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this month announced the United States Department of Agriculture is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities.   These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents. State Director Edd Hargett announced this includes five projects in Texas totaling $3.5 million, including several projects impacting South Plains area educators and students. view article arw

Collectively, those districts are down 38,766 students. The question is: Where have they gone?  “I think that’s what everyone is trying to figure out right now,” said Duncan Klussmann, a University of Houston education professor and former superintendent and Spring Branch ISD. “Some students can be homeschooled, so that could be a factor. There could be some students in private settings. And there’s going to be a certain percent of students who just are not enrolling at all.” view article arw

Eanes ISD has seen receding enrollment numbers as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to an update from Deputy Superintendent Jeff Arnett during an Oct. 20 board meeting. As of the day prior, total enrollment was reported at 7,938—a 224-student decrease from the 2019-20 school year, Arnett said. view article arw


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Williamson County is entering phase four of its Wilco Forward Program. The program was established to distribute the $93 million the county received from the federal government through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.  Phase one focused on aiding small businesses, phase two on emergency services, and phase three focused on utility aid. Phase four focuses on reimbursing funds to school districts for COVID expenses. The county also sits on a reserve of $17 million. view article arw

CLINT, Texas -- As Covid-19 cases in El Paso County skyrocket, the superintendent of the Clint Independent School District says students in his district will have to return to the classroom next week.  Superintendent Juan Martinez says the reason for the return is because the Texas Education Agency has refused the district's request for a virtual learning waiver extension.  According to the agency, each district in Texas gets a maximum of 12 weeks’ worth of virtual learning funding. view article arw

Charles Woods’ voice shook as he told Alief ISD trustees about the southwest Houston district’s financial outlook. Enrollment declines, poor attendance and a decrease in free and reduced-priced meal applications could combine to create a deficit of $42 million, or nearly 10 percent of the district’s general fund budget.  Paying teachers and staff could start being “tough,” said Woods, Alief’s deputy superintendent of business services. The district will have to dip into its fund balance, essentially its rainy day fund, but that will do little to offset the losses.  “We’re going to get affected more because districts with high rates of (lower income students) are going to get hit disproportionately because of the effects of the economy and what that does to students’ ability to come to school,” Woods said.    (21) view article arw

Chief Financial Officer Darrell Dodds went over the district’s perfect FIRST rating. FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) provides transparency to the public concerning future solvency of a district, according to the district, and Midland earned a score of 100 out of 100 for an “A” or superior rating. view article arw

BELTON, Texas – For the ninth year in a row, Belton ISD has earned a perfect score and “Superior Achievement” rating on the annual state fiscal accountability review.   Jennifer Land, the district’s chief financial officer, shared with the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Monday results from the 2020 School FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas) Report issued by the Texas Education Agency.  The 2020 rating is based on data from the 2018-2019 school year, and evaluates school districts on 14 indicators – including the findings of external auditors, cash-on hand, debt and staffing levels. Using the 14 indicators, school districts are scored on a 100-point scale. Belton ISD received all 100 points possible. view article arw

Tuesday, October 20, marks one year since a tornado outbreak in North Texas left homes, businesses and schools in ruins. One of those businesses is the Central Market off Preston and Royal in North Dallas. On Monday, the store announced plans to reopen next spring, taking the time to make it more spacious. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District superintendent says the learning model being used in many middle and high schools will likely change in November to allow for more personal instruction between teachers and students. Dr. Stephanie Elizalde told the Board of Trustees at Monday night’s information session that the Texas Education Agency contacted district leaders to inform them virtual instruction, which is being delivered to many in-person students, would not be funded past November. view article arw

As Pflugerville ISD planned for the 2020-21 academic year, the district prepared for 3% enrollment growth, with projected numbers estimated at 26,800. Last week, PfISD had 25,472 enrolled students, PfISD Chief Operating Officer Eduardo Ramos said—a decrease of more than 1,300 students compared to projections. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Eanes Independent School District is asking its residents to decide on whether or not to move pennies from one part of its tax rate to another. District officials say the change would allow Eanes ISD to keep more tax revenue.  According to officials, swapping the pot of funds could prevent $3.3M in locally controlled revenue from being recaptured by the state every year.  “What this allows for us to do is hire staff, maintain reasonable class sizes, compensate staff,” said Eanes Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard. “This is good for a district like ours. We are not raising the tax rate, and that is where the swap comes in.” view article arw

I have posted the 2020-21 LPE-DPE Side-by-Side Template (r6,wb6). This is an "enhancement" of Omar's template. I have downloaded 2019-20 PEIMS ADA/FTE's for comparison with "current" ADA/FTE's. I am "estimating" T-Values using the average T2 growth from 2015-2019. I will change to the the Comptroller's 2020 Preliminary T-Values in January (Remember this affects your "Local Fund Assignment" and re-capture).    (13) read more arw

White Oak ISD has received a superior financial rating from the state, Superintendent Brian Gray told trustees Monday.   According to the Texas Education Agency, the Financial Rating Integrity System of Texas ensures public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices.  Districts can earn a perfect score of 100. Gray said White Oak earned a 96.   “We feel confident we are being stewards of the taxpayer dollar and spending responsibly,” he said. view article arw