Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with numerous groups concerning public education and how it is impacted by the legislative process. The way by which we fund our public schools affects every person in one way or another. Be it by a child or grandchild who attends a public school, someone who works for the district, those who pay property taxes, or even the indirect impact on every consumer in our state, we are all impacted.  view article arw

Fort Bend ISD school board president Kristin Tassin reflected on the state of Texas public school funding Friday and how the district has responded. During a seminar at the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Tassin, who is running for the state Senate District 17 seat, said advocating for an updated school funding formula is among her concerns. view article arw

The Gregory Portland ISD received a generous donation at Monday's night school board meeting. Four donors presented checks to the school district with a total sum of more than $100,000. The money will go towards helping the district in their efforts to help students who have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Two of the donors were the Portland Cha view article arw

Doing more with less has been the new normal for Texas public schools ever since the Legislature made deep cuts to education funding in 2011.  Now a joint report by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities describes the effect of the $5.3 billion cut from state education spending from 2011 to 2016 — overall, the resulting “funding hole” disproportionately affected low-income and other disadvantaged students. view article arw

The Ore City ISD board of trustees will meet Monday to host a public hearing on the district's financial accountability rating. view article arw

During a hearing for public comment Monday evening in the Waxahachie ISD boardroom, Waxahachie ISD Chief Financial Officer Ryan Kahlden presented the results of a report on the district’s financial rating. For the fourth consecutive year, the district has received the highest marks possible. “The district received the rating of Superior by the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The rating was based on the 2015-2016 school year. Superior is the highest rating a district can get,” Kahlden said. view article arw

Joey Lopez called the country’s largest school board to order with the swift strike of his gavel. Lopez, South Texas ISD’s board president, and the 23 other board members began making significant expenditures. But, unlike most districts, the spending didn’t make a dent in their operating budget of more than $60 million. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency is offering state funding this school year to as many as 157 school districts and charter schools with lower attendance due to Hurricane Harvey.  The agency officially announced the compensation plan in a release Monday afternoon, with statements of support from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath estimated last week that this decision will cost the state a total of $400 million. view article arw

Houston ISD school board members on Thursday are expected to consider approving campus turnaround plans, the financial impact of Hurricane Harvey, an audit of spending at about 50 schools and several other topics. Here's what to look for from Thursday's meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. at the district's headquarters at 4400 W. 18th St.: view article arw

Researchers at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, and the University of Texas at Austin have summed up what we unfortunately have realized for several years, that the draconian budget cuts to public education in 2011 have had significant and ongoing negative impacts on our students. view article arw

Dallas County Schools (DCS), the county school district that provides school bus and supplemental transportation services to 13 districts in and around Dallas County, saves taxpayers of Dallas Countyup to 52% annually on the cost of transportation by utilizing DCS services. According to a DCS assessment, based upon data from the Texas Education Agency Official 2016 ISD Audits, there are higher costs to districts by not using DCS Transportation Services. "Without DCS, taxpayers and ISDs will have to pay much more for transportation services," mentioned Gary Lindsey, Interim Superintendent of DCS. "Currently, DCS provides a tax contribution to the districts within Dallas County that use our student transportation services. However, if DCS is dissolved the districts will not receive the DCS tax, and face paying more." view article arw

San Antonio public schools’ best shot at securing more State funding died this summer in the 85th Legislature’s special session when Senate revisions to a bipartisan House bill stripped $1.5 billion in new funds and all reforms to the State’s outdated school funding formulas. “We got closer than we had before, but [in the end] we didn’t have much to show for it,” said State Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio), who was joined by fellow State Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio), San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez, and Northside ISD Superintendent Brian Woods at a Tuesday panel discussion hosted by the nonprofit San Antonio Youth Literacy. view article arw

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath today announced that certain school districts and charter schools within the Governor’s state disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey will be eligible for an adjustment to their average daily attendance (ADA) funding for the 2017-2018 school year, holding them harmless for losses of funding due to enrollment declines stemming from the storm. “Many of our school systems have seen major disruptions in their communities because of Hurricane Harvey,” said Commissioner Morath. “This one-time adjustment is meant to bring some certainty for the remainder of this school year as school leaders face a number of major financial decisions following this devastating storm.” view article arw

Texas practices something called student-based funding, meaning districts get money depending on how much they raise from taxes per weighted student. After a series of complicated algorithms determine whether the state will re-distribute or add to local tax money, as part of recapture, funds are then distributed based on how many students attend. Charter schools receive a portion of student-based funding too, and, until now, did not receive the portion of per-student funding that comes from local taxes or is allotted for facility building and maintenance. But Texas just passed legislation that will allocate $60 million to charter schools specifically for facilities funding, to build or maintain buildings. view article arw

The Tatum ISD Board of Trustees will meet Monday to host a hearing on the district's financial accountability rating. view article arw

The Union Grove ISD Board of Trustees will meet Monday to hold a public hearing on the district's financial accountability rating. view article arw

Preliminary numbers from Amarillo Independent School District signal a second straight year of declining enrollment. According to a district spokeswoman, Amarillo ISD enrolled 33,194 students on Sept. 15. The count is down 343 from last year’s official “snapshot” number, which the Texas Education Agency collects at the end of October. Enrollment could rise in the weeks before snapshot day on Oct. 27. Last year, the district added about 50 students between mid-September and the October snapshot. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas – Funding cuts by state lawmakers left a five-year, $5 billion hole in the budget for Texas public schools between 2011 and 2016. A new University of Texas study analyzes the effect of those cuts, made because of state revenue shortfalls, which forced many districts to operate with less money despite a growing number of students.   Michael Marder, a professor and co-author of the study at the UTeach Institute at UT, says although state spending is beginning to rebound, there is still a need to deal with the problems caused by the cut view article arw

A $19.4-million balanced budget for the 2017-18 school year adopted by Spring Hill ISD includes raises, adds money for technology and puts more than half a million dollars into the district's fund balance, officials said. The adopted budget keeps the property tax rate the same at $1.67 per $100 valuation. "The main change in our budget was as a result of the TASB salary survey," Spring Hill ISD Chief Financial Officer Martin Cobb said. "We wanted to make sure we were competitive with other districts." view article arw

In fiscal year 2018-19, Austin city staffers predict that for the first time more Austin ISD property tax revenue will go to the state than to the school district because of Texas’ “Robin Hood” school finance system. This fiscal year, 2017-18, the school district will send an estimated $534 million—or 45 percent—of its property tax revenue to the state. AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley said this has debilitating effects on the operation of the school district, expected to run on a revenue deficit of between $40 million and $50 million in FY 2017-18. Conley said this leaves several AISD programs vulnerable to cuts and makes it tough to pay competitive wages. view article arw

The Waskom ISD board of trustees recently adopted a flat tax rate and a balanced fiscal budget for the 2017-18 school year, Waskom ISD Superintendent Jimmy Cox said on Tuesday. The district adopted an $8.9 million balanced budget and a total flat tax rate of $1.43 per $100 of home valuation. The tax rate is made up of $1.04 for maintenance and operations and $0.39 for interest and sinking, same as the 2016-17 adopted tax rate, Cox said. view article arw

DONNA – A forensic audit outlines Donna Independent School District’s culture along with what auditors state are a number of situations indicating improprieties.  The 26-page audit was completed September 1, 2017 by Weaver and Tidwell, LLP.  The Dallas-based firm is made up of certified public accountants and consultants.  Auditors took a look at Donna ISD operations from 2013 until now.  The audit states the district was improperly using restricted funds. view article arw

Three members of the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees spent time this week in Washington, D.C. The board members — Corbett Lawler, Minerva Trujillo and JoAnn Purser — along with KISD superintendent John Craft, attended the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools fall conference. The meeting was held Sunday through Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. view article arw

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar said Saturday at the Texas Tribune Festival that Texas is in the midst of a short-term economic downturn in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but he does not expect that to affect the state’s overall revenue. Speaking at an afternoon session with moderator and Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey, Hegar spoke about the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that were destroyed in the Harvey wreckage—approximately $5 billion in value. The state is likely, however, to see an upswing in sales tax revenue when those car owners buy replacement vehicles, he said. view article arw

Before Harvey flooded much of the city, the Houston Independent School District owed almost $80 million in so-called Robin Hood money. It’s considered property wealthy and has to share money with property-poor school districts. It worried Superintendent Richard Carranza in the wake of the storm, when he roughly estimated the damage and manpower hours could cost HISD hundreds of millions of dollars. view article arw

Katy ISD trustee George Scott used a seemingly innocuous item on the school board's May 18 agenda to press for what he says is more accountability from the Katy Area Economic Development Council. The school board approved an agreement for KISD to lease office space to the organization for $4,500 per month. Scott joined the other trustees in backing the plan. But then he questioned the worth of the Katy Area Economic Development Council to the school district. view article arw

Despite meeting for a special session this summer, some experts and legislators said the 85th Texas Legislature provided little relief to schools and taxpayers in regard to school finance and property tax reform. Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, authored the Senate’s property tax reform bill, Senate Bill 1, which failed to pass during the Legislature’s special session. House Bill 21—which transfers $351 million from Health and Human Services to public education—did pass this session and was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. view article arw

Third-graders Alexis Segovia and Keiy’ana Cook like fiction, especially stories about Meli, a dog character featured in a series of books they read at West Handley Elementary in east Fort Worth. When the two 8-year-olds started working with tutor Susan Titus last year they weren’t reading at grade level, but they made huge gains after participating in 30-minute sessions four times a week. view article arw

AUSTIN — Texas schools chief Mike Morath and state GOP leaders are promising financial help for school districts hammered by Hurricane Harvey.  It won't be cheap, though.  An estimated 52 public and charter school campuses sustained "catastrophic" damage — more than a half million dollars' worth apiece — from the storm and subsequent flooding, according to an internal Texas Education Agency document. To entirely replace a high school can cost as much as $90 million, officials say. view article arw

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar was hesitant to give an estimate Saturday of how much Hurricane Harvey will cost the state, but he said the federal government will pick up most of the bill. Executive editor of the Texas Tribune Ross Ramsey asked Hegar during the Texas Tribune Festival if he believes the cost of past hurricanes will be comparable to Harvey’s. Hurricane Ike in 2008 cost the state about $312 million of the total $35 billion pricetag, according to the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities. view article arw

Elysian Fields ISD trustees recently adopted a flat tax rate and deficit budget for the 2017-18 school year, Elysian Fields ISD Business Manager Richard Hutsell said on Thursday. The district's deficit is about $260,000, with about $9 million expected in revenue and about $9.2 million projected in expenditures, he said. The district's adopted tax rate remained the same as last year's at $1.04 for maintenance and operations and $0.31 for interest and sinking, making a total tax rate of $1.35 per $100 of home valuation. view article arw

Montgomery, Willis ISDs approve budgets

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Montgomery and Willis ISDs each approved budget increases for the 2017-18 school year. Montgomery ISD approved a $68.16 million budget, and Willis ISD approved a $75.84 million budget this school year. view article arw

North Texas public schools rely on federal Title I, Part A dollars to support learning on campuses that serve poor children. These dollars typically pay for reading tutors, math tutors, data specialists and social service programs that connect struggling families with community resources. view article arw

LPE - DPE Side-by-Side Template

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New Post 10/9!   Woody has re- posted the 2017-18  (LPE-DPE Side-by-Side Template as (r5, wb6) . This is an "enhancement" of Omar's r5 template.  I have downloaded 2016-17 PEIMS ADA/FTE's for comparison with "current" ADA/FTE's; and 2016 Certified values for calculating "Local Fund Assignment" for Tiers 1 and 11 State Aid.  This new release incorporates the Additional State Aid for Property Value Decline and the Hardship Grant amounts recently calculated by TEA. . Remember!!  This template is an "as is projection" of your state and local revenue based on you current data.  LINK to 2017-18 LPE-DPE Template view article arw

A Sabine ISD trustee's refusal to fill out an audit questionnaire this past year led directly to the school district receiving a grade of "F" on financial accountability from the Texas Education Agency. It was one of only five districts across the state to receive such a rating. view article arw