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BROOKESMITH, Texas — Two years ago, the writing on the wall at the Brookesmith Independent School District spelled doom and gloom, but the school district's superintendent said that the message has now turned optimistic.  Brookesmith ISD Superintendent Steve Mickelson said that he hopes that the school district never closes down.  "I didn't doubt that Brookesmith ISD was going to be fine," Mickelson said. "It wasn't that, it was turning the image of the district around." view article arw

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With 40 elementary, middle and high schools plus two alternative schools, Leander ISD serves students across nearly 200 square miles. view article arw

Kilgore ISD trustees Monday night are set to consider several financial transactions.  The board will consider recommendations by Chief Financial Officer Revard Pfeffer to amend the 2018-19 budget and amend a short-term lease agreement with Champion EMS. view article arw

Land Commissioner George P. Bush fighting with a Texas education board over allocations to fund schools  A fight is brewing between Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Republicans on the State Board of Education over investment funds they manage to generate school funding.  For the first time ever, the School Land Board — a three-person body headed by Bush, a Republican — declined to pass any money from its fund to the education board, instead opting to feed $600 million to schools directly.  In response, education board members say they will have to reduce their own contributions toward school funding. And they’re also calling for this complex investment system to be reformed in the next legislative session. view article arw

The recapture policy, nicknamed the “Robin Hood” plan, is part of Texas’s school finance system—and has been debated since the 1970s. Ideally, the state recaptures funding from districts with high property wealth, to redistribute it to districts with low property wealth. Because Texas schools are funded by local property taxes, there would be a huge discrepancy without recapture: Property-wealthy districts could set a much lower tax rate than property-poor districts and still collect 20 percent more revenue. view article arw

Crosby ISD Trustee Cathi Hughes resigned Thursday from the northeast Houston-area school district. Hughes's departure comes as the district wrestles with an unprecedented financial crisis that Superintendent Scott Davis said could call the existence of the 6,000-student district "into question." view article arw

A growing student enrollment at Katy ISD, coupled with the Texas Legislature’s inaction to fix the public education system’s funding formula in the last special legislative session, has resulted in KISD having roughly $7 million less than previous years to educate almost 80,000 students for the 2018-19 school year. By Aug. 24, 79,401 students were enrolled in KISD. The district saw a 2.9 percent increase in enrollment, a 2.4 percent increase in the tax base and as a fast-growth school district opened a brand new elementary school and has plans to open two more schools by August 2019. view article arw

Alvin ISD earns recognitions for budget

September 2007:45 AM

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and the Association of School Business Officials International has honored Alvin Independent School District for its superior financial management and budget practices.  Alvin ISD received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the District’s 2016-17 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the Meritorious Budget Award for the 2017-2018 Budget document.  They are one of only 21 school districts to receive this award.  view article arw

State needs to revamp school finance

September 2007:45 AM

A few weeks ago, the Alvin ISD school board voted unanimously to ask voters to approve a bond package worth more than $480 million.  The money is desperately needed to pay for new schools that must be built to handle the escalating influx of new students to the district.  When I learned about the bond proposal, I had two thoughts. First, I was kind of impressed with the idea that the district can get $480 million without raising taxes due to a quirk in state law that will allow the district to get the funds and increase state funding to pay for them.  view article arw

Mid-year layoffs and drastic spending cuts in Crosby ISD will be necessary this year to keep the 6,000-student school district from becoming financially insolvent, Superintendent Scott Davis told the board of trustees this week. Although the board approved a $57 million budget in June, former financial officials apparently over-estimated how much revenue the district would receive, Davis said. Officials will not know how many teachers and other staff members will lose their jobs or how much will need to be cut from other sources for at least another week as financial officers work to adjust the budget. view article arw

An early projection has Texas decreasing state funding to public education, and largely using local taxes to fill the gap. In its preliminary budget request ahead of next year’s legislative session, the Texas Education Agency projected a drop in the state’s general revenue for public education by more than $3.5 billion over the next couple of years, in part because the revenue from local property taxes is expected to skyrocket. General revenue only makes up part of the state’s education funding. view article arw

By a vote of 4-0, Bay City ISD Board of Trustees voted to withdraw from the Matagorda County Educational Services Co-op in order to save the district more money. “We are paying the lion’s share of this program and it is just off balance,” said Bay City ISD Superintendent Dr. Marshall Scott III.  Scott pointed out that co-op’s such as this one work better when all the districts involved are the same size. In this case, Bay City ISD is clearly the largest district in the co-op. “Even if we came up with a formula to divide the money evenly, Bay City would still be paying a lion’s share of these services for the whole county,” Scott said. “I know there is a lot of angst about leaving the co-op and I feel it from the employees. view article arw

Crosby ISD Superintendent Scott Davis said at a board meeting Monday that mid-year layoffs and drastic spending cuts will be necessary this year to keep the 6,000-student school district from becoming financially insolvent.  Although the district's board approved a $57 million budget in June, former financial officials apparently over-estimated how much revenue the district would receive. Officials will not know how many teachers and other staff members will lose their jobs, or how much will need to be slashed from other sources, for at least another week as financial officers work to essentially create a new budget. view article arw

The state’s budget situation improves as the financial load on Texas property owners increases. That makes for noisy and gnarly politics.   Officials from the Texas Education Agency gave state budget-writers an early look at their budget numbers this week, saying that thy expect property values to rise 6.8 percent per year over the next two years Their takeaway gives a new meaning to take-away: That means local property taxpayers will be paying billions more for public schools, and that the state will spend billions less than it would otherwise as a result. view article arw

School Finance News from Omar

September 1708:30 AM

News Alert!- Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has noted that TEA’s recommended 2018-19 Available School Fund rate up for adoption by the State Board of Education this month is going to be $459.764.  The latest template release uses $447.180. Since the rate change only affects the bottom line for Chapter 41 districts, a new release is not planned. Instead, users can just change Cell G114 on the Assumptions tab from $447.180 to $459.764 and the template will do the rest. read more arw

Carthage ISD has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report, the organization announced Sept. 5. view article arw

Public education is a bedrock of American life, enshrined as a right of all Texans by the Texas Constitution. Keeping public education healthy requires vigilance, especially when state public education funding is broken. Making this even more challenging is that the Austin Independent School District is struggling with a large and unsustainable structural budget deficit. The district and the newly created Budget Stabilization Task Force are working to identify solutions to overcome the district’s budgetary challenges. view article arw

Jefferson ISD trustees recently adopted a balanced budget and a slightly decreased tax rate for the district’s 2018-19 school year, Jefferson ISD Business Manager Mike Wood said on Thursday. The district adopted about an $11.29 million balanced budget for the 2018- 19 fiscal year. This year’s budget includes step raises for teachers but no other pay increases for staff, Wood said. “”We did buy a vehicle for travel, a suburban, at about $38,000 but other than that, there were no other big, one time expenditures in this budget,” Wood said. view article arw

An early projection has Texas decreasing state funding to public education, and largely using local taxes to fill the gap. In its preliminary budget request ahead of next year's legislative session, the Texas Education Agency projected a drop in the state's general revenue for public education by more than $3.5 billion over the next couple of years, in part because the revenue from local property taxes is expected to skyrocket. General revenue only makes up part of the state's education funding. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath confirmed this projection in front of a state budget panel Wednesday morning as he laid out the state agency's budget request through 2021. view article arw

With a week under his belt, Ector ISD Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson has at least three goals this academic year. “I will consider this year a success if we make progress academically, if the TRE passes and if at the end of the school year (the board has) been able to name a really good superintendent to take over,” he said. view article arw

Tidehaven Independent School District held its monthly school board meeting Aug. 29 to handle the yearly budget and taxes along with smoothing out some details about the new school year. During the monthly board meeting Superintendent Andrew Seigrist and the Board of Trustees discussed issues ranging from the 2018 -2019 taxes and budget to the possibility of hiring a sports therapist for the schools on a fulltime basis. The tax rate for the 2018-19 budget remained unchanged add 1.005 and the INS bond went down by almost four cents from 0.25040 to 0.21776. view article arw

The Conroe Independent School District will see a $22 million increase in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year but school officials announced there will be no tax rate increase. The Board of Trustee approved its $495 million Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget Aug. 21. The board also approved keeping the tax rate of $1.28 per $100 valuation. According to information from the district, Conroe ISD has the second lowest tax rate in the Houston area and is an average of 22 cents below peer districts. view article arw

Two years ago, the Houston Chronicle investigated how Texas had been creating the false impression that there was declining demand for special education. The investigation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and it showed that Texas had found ways to cap the number of special-education students, and block others from even qualifying. It was essentially a money-saving strategy, but now the federal government says it's time to pay up, and fix the system. view article arw

The Copperas Cove school district is facing a dramatic cut in federal Impact Aid funding, from an earned $12.4 million in the 2016-2017 school year to a projected $385,000 next year. The district receives the aid on behalf of its qualifying student population. “Eligible students include children of active duty military, contractors who work on a military base, Native American students who live on Indian Lands, students who reside in low income housing and districts with federal properties located within the district boundaries,” said CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns.  While CCISD will still receive some aid from the federal government, the district is no longer considered heavily impacted due to a declining percentage of eligible children and that means a loss of money. view article arw

Dr. Brent Ringo, chief financial officer for Garland ISD, presented the proposed 2018-2019 budget and tax rate during the Aug. 28 school board meeting. Both were approved by the board of trustees following a public hearing. A comparison of proposed budget with last year’s budget shows a 5 percent increase in maintenance and operations and a 4.93 decrease in debt services with total expenditures of 3.69 percent increase. view article arw

Ore City ISD trustees last week approved a balanced budget and staff raises for the 2018-19 school year, the superintendent announced Monday. The district’s 2018-19 budget enacted at the board of trustees meeting Aug. 30 is balanced at $9.24 million, Superintendent Lynn Heflin said. Trustees also voted to retain the district’s property tax rate of $1.335 per $100 valuation. view article arw

Harleton ISD trustees last week adopted a $338,000 deficit budget and flat tax rate for the district’s 2018-19 fiscal year, Harleton ISD Business Manager Tina Cox said Tuesday. The trustees adopted about an $8.2 million budget with a deficit of about $338,000, which included a new bus purchase at about $90,000 and a new campus security officer position in partnership with Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at about $33,000 for the year, Cox said. view article arw

The process of pinching pennies is underway for Hays CISD officials as they aim to rectify a projected deficit prior to finalizing its 2019 budget. Even with trimming roughly $2.1 million in expenses, the district still faces the possibility of operating $5.9 million in the red next fiscal year. It could lead to the district having “some hard discussions” in the future on how they can fix the problem, said Hays CISD superintendent Eric Wright. view article arw

Facing its first-ever recapture payment and an $8.53 million budget deficit this fiscal year, Lewisville ISD is looking for ways to cut its expenditures down moving forward as the recapture payments are only expected to grow. Recapture, also informally called “Robin Hood,” is the term for the money the state collects from property-rich districts for redistribution to property-poor districts.“Becoming a recapture district is changing the way we look at the budget,” LISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers said.  view article arw

A letter from the Texas Education Agency about funding for schooling in migrant shelters highlights the ongoing push and pull between federal and state agencies. Texas’ top education officials told school district administrators Friday that they cannot use state funding to provide schooling for children housed in migrant shelters. The announcement — issued in a letter sent to all school superintendents statewide — has raised concerns for both shelters and school districts, whose leaders say it highlights a broader pattern of push-and-pull between the state and federal government over regulating shelters. view article arw

Needville ISD approves tax rate, budget

September 0508:25 AM

Needville Independent School District trustees unanimously approved the 2018-19 budget and 2019 property tax rate at a special Aug. 29 meeting. The tax rate will drop slightly from $1.54 per $100 valuation to the district’s calculated rollback rate of $1.539523. Assistant Superintendent of Finance Dovie Peschel explained that school districts can’t set tax rates higher than their rollback rates. view article arw

Buffalo ISD approves 2019 budget

September 0508:25 AM

Friday, August 31, 2018, the BISD board of trustees met for a special called meeting. The meeting began at 5:30 in the evening and only lasted a few minutes. view article arw

Poolville ISD adopts increased budget

September 0508:25 AM

Poolville ISD board of trustees adopted a lower tax rate and higher budget on Friday at their regular meeting. Trustees also decided  to cancel the school board election because all races are uncontested, Poolville ISD Superintendent Jimmie Dobbs said.  view article arw

Smithville ISD sets budget, tax rate

September 0508:15 AM

The Smithville ISD Board of Trustees met Aug. 27 to set the district's budget and tax rate. They also received a construction report along the way regarding progress at the under-construction stadium and junior high school. The meeting kicked off with the required public hearing for budget consideration, in which no citizen rose to speak on the issue. When it was time to propose the budget, there was little wrangling over the matter. The total budget hammered out by administrators was $20.389 million. view article arw