The Palestine Independent School District board of trustees approved a proposal during Monday’s meeting to lower its portion of the property tax rate for the 2021-22 school year. If the proposal is approved during the official vote, which is currently scheduled for the Aug. 16 board meeting, the rate will drop nearly 6 cents to $1.3468. At this rate, the owner of a $100,000 home or business will pay roughly $1,350 in school district property taxes. The proposed rate includes a reduction on the interest and sinking tax rate, i.e. the debt incurred via the 2009 bond. That portion of the proposed rate would be 32 cents. According to the district’s chief financial officer, David Atkeisson, this would mean a drop of 22 cents since the bond was established. The proposed rate will be posted for two weeks prior to the official vote. view article arw

Despite the fact the Stafford MSD Board of Trustees voted in May to shrink the district’s staff amid talk of budget concerns, Superintendent Robert Bostic says the district is in a better fiscal position now and hasn’t actually reduced the number of full-time staff. The district did, however, eliminate some administrative positions, Bostic said. District leaders in May had been concerned because they received projections that the student enrollment might decline by more than 300 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and moved to reduce staff in order to fix a possible future budget crunch, Bostic explained last week. Even at the time, the district had a healthy fund balance of about $14 million, but wanted to make a long-term fix, Bostic said.    (20) view article arw

After months of conversations, the Amarillo Independent School District officially presented its plan for the third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds during the most recent meeting of the district’s board of trustees. view article arw

Houston ISD expects to spend $1.2 billion of federal relief shoring up academic losses from the pandemic under a wide-ranging plan that would target accelerated instruction to kids that have fallen behind, bolster tutoring and after-school services, seek to retain and recruit teachers with $2,500 stipends, provide laptops to more middle school students and boost technology in the classroom. Superintendent Millard House II sent an email addressed to “Team HISD” Thursday evening with a 54-slide presentation attached about how the district would use the money, according to a copy obtained by The Chronicle on Friday. view article arw

Board members also approved a resolution calling the District's Unlimited Maintenance Tax Notes (Series 2020) for redemption prior to maturity.  Dr. Guidry explained that last October the district issued a "Maintenance Tax Note" in order to purchase new school buses."The strategy in issuing a tax note was that LISD could earn more money in Certificate of Deposit (CD) interest than we would pay out in interest with the notes," he said. "Currently we are experiencing historical lows in interest rates, and what has changed is the interest we are receiving in our CDs." read more arw

Houston ISD expects to spend almost $1.2 billion in federal relief funds shoring up academic losses from the pandemic under a wide-ranging plan that would target accelerated instruction to kids who have fallen behind, bolster tutoring and after-school services, and seek to retain and recruit teachers with $2,500 stipends. Superintendent Millard House II sent an email addressed to “Team HISD” Thursday evening with a 54-slide presentation attached about how the district expects to use the money during the next two to three years, according to a copy obtained by the Chronicle on Friday. The plan outlined 11 areas needing attention, including tutoring, college and military readiness, wraparound programs, special education, student engagement and classroom technology. view article arw

In order to calculate and make available districts’ maximum compressed tax rate (MCR), the agency is conducting a survey of local taxable property value growth through the Foundation School Program (FSP) system in the Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL). The Local Property Value Survey (LPVS) for the 2021-2022 school year opened for data submission on Sunday, July 18, 2021, and will close at midnight on Sunday, August 1, 2021. This survey does NOT apply to charter schools or institutions of higher education.    (19) read more arw

Houston ISD expects to spend almost $1.2 billion in federal relief funds shoring up academic losses from the pandemic under a wide-ranging plan that would target accelerated instruction to kids who have fallen behind, bolster tutoring and after-school services, and seek to retain and recruit teachers with $2,500 stipends. Superintendent Millard House II sent an email addressed to “Team HISD” Thursday evening with a 54-slide presentation attached about how the district expects to use the money during the next two to three years, according to a copy obtained by the Chronicle on Friday. The plan outlined 11 areas needing attention, including tutoring, college and military readiness, wraparound programs, special education, student engagement and classroom technology. view article arw

After numerous hours of conversations and planning among various district staff and constituents, Canyon Independent School District’s plan for the use of the third round of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, funds recently came into fruition and was approved by the district’s board. view article arw

A public hearing on an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III grant application is scheduled when the North Lamar ISD board of trustees meets at 6 p.m. Monday in the Roy C. Chadwick Administration Office, 3130 North Main St. Trustees are expected to approve an order to authorize the issuance of unlimited tax school building bonds, Series 2021, in support of the recent voter-approved bond election, the establishment of procedures for the sale and delivery of such bonds and the levying of an annual advaloren tax for bond repayment. view article arw

Pflugerville ISD has made more advancements toward its plans to spend federal funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III fund, or ESSER III, the fund allocation as stated by the Texas Education Agency is intended to be used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing students and staff to return to school safely and to address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19. view article arw

Marshall ISD has been informed by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar that MISD has achieved specific transparency goals and has received a star in the area of traditional finances as part of the Comptroller’s Transparency Stars program. Transparency stars recognizes local government entities that provide easy online access to important financial data. “By providing meaningful financial data in addition to visual tools and analysis of its revenues and expenditures, Marshall ISD has shown a true commitment to Texas taxpayers,” Hegar said. “This effort achieves goals set by my office’s Transparency Stars program. I am pleased to award Marshall ISD a star for its accomplishments.” view article arw

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) last week announced $130,332,854 in final federal funds for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Title I allocations for Local Education Agencies (LEA) in the 15th District of Texas. The U.S. Department of Education has released the final formula allocations for these funds, which were preliminarily announced in January. Title I funding provides for the expansion and development of educational programs that are fair, equitable, and support schools in the creation of opportunities for their students’ success. Of the $16.5 billion appropriated for Title I, ap proximately $5.7 billion will become available on July 1, 2021, and the remainder will become available on October 1, 2021. view article arw

Clear Creek ISD plans to use $36.5 million in federal relief funds to address pandemic-related tutoring needs, add counselors or social workers and cover certain emergency response expenditures, district leaders said at a July 12 board of trustees workshop. The money has been made available via the third round of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to address costs incurred during the pandemic. The Texas Education Agency used the first two rounds—distributed in March and December of last year— to replace state aid from fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21. Districts across the state were required to submit detailed spending plans to the TEA by July 27. The state mandated that 20% of the funds be allocated to learning loss solutions, CCISD officials said at the workshop. The rest of the money can be spent on other needs. view article arw

The Holliday ISD School Board approved the district’s 2021-22 budget at a called meeting on Monday, June 28. The fiscal year starts on July 1 and runs through June 30 each year. The new budget includes new positions for a 3rd grade teacher, middle school teacher/coach and middle school counselor. Additionally, teacher’s salary step amounts remain at $3,000 above base while auxiliary staff saw view article arw

On June 21, the San Antonio ISD board of trustees approved the budget for the next fiscal year, which included $78.3 million of the $276.4 million issued by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER, as pandemic aid. This means the board has submitted the district’s application to the federal government to receive the first wave of these unprecedented funds — released by the state April 27 — that will be distributed over the next four years. Federal guidelines for allocating these funds instruct districts to “give the public an opportunity to provide input in the development of its plan” and highlight the importance of local school districts to engage in “meaningful consultation with stakeholders.” This is to ensure the inclusion of all stakeholders in the decision-making process about how this money is spent. Unfortunately, SAISD has yet to comply with these guidelines. view article arw

An $8.5 million grant recently awarded to Spring ISD by the Texas Education Agency will help fund the district’s 21st Century after-school program for years to come. The after-school program offers activities meant to foster students’ academic growth in reading and math, as well as encourage parental involvement. According to a Spring ISD press release, 10 campuses will benefit from the grant, which will allow the program to continue at the schools for the next five years. view article arw

Katy ISD has earned the title of “outstanding” when it comes to financial reporting. The district announced last week that it received the Certificate in Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International, an organization committed to providing programs, services and a global network that promotes the highest standards in school business. view article arw

Privately managed charters were approved as an experiment to improve the public education system. The original bill analysis for the authorizing legislation states explicitly that charter supporters said: “It is worth trying an experiment that is being attempted with some success in other states.” Two generations of students, 293 charters, and $30 billion of taxpayer funding later, the State cannot document that privately managed charters produce better results than locally governed school districts. According to the State’s Academic Accountability Rating System mandated by the Texas legislature, school districts continue to outperform charters. Additionally, the State cannot document the educational purpose or benefit affiliated with the hundreds of charter expansions previously approved in local communities. view article arw

The Sulphur Springs ISD community is asked to take a little time to weigh in on an ESSER III fund use plan. SSISD applied for its allocation, $7,984,629, of the $11.2 billion appropriated to the State of Texas for public education purposes under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act through the ESSER III Fund. Funds may be spent for costs incurred March 13, 2020 – September 30, 2024. view article arw

Texas soon will receive another $4.1 billion in federal stimulus money to address the post-pandemic needs of public school students, many of whom fell behind academically during months of remote learning. The funding comes come as the U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that it has approved Texas’ plans for spending $12.4 billion allocated to the state. The state’s plan was among the first proposals to receive approval from the federal government. While some of the money will be spent on improving academics, the funding also aims to address student inequities that were worsened by the pandemic, as well as kids’ social and emotional needs. The Texas Education Agency’s plan calls for mitigating learning loss as a top priority. The agency estimates students in the state lost an average of 5.7 months of learning last school year. Meeting student and staff mental health needs, expanded tutoring, high-quality instructional materials and job-embedded learning are included in the plan.    (09) view article arw

WESLACO — School board members here were expected to receive a rough draft of the district’s forensic audit Wednesday, just a day after voting to have the audit presented in open session and posted online — subject to any redactions made by the auditor — when the finalized version is ready in late July or early August. The Weslaco Independent School District Board of Trustees selected Weaver and Tidwell L.L.P. in January and discussed its scope early the next month, expressing a desire for it to go back five years. view article arw

Education of the estimated 4,000 students in the Floresville Independent School District (ISD) will cost just over $42 million for the 2021-22 academic year. That’s the amount district trustees approved during a special meeting June 28 (see “Budget breakdown”). This includes a 3-percent across-the-board pay raise for district employees. Pay and benefits comprise 75.5 percent of the budget, according to district Finance Director Linnci Angle. She told the school board the district is proposing to maintain the same tax rate as currently assessed — $1.2344 per $100 of taxable value. A tax rate won’t be approved until August, trustees heard. view article arw

Texas will receive another $4.1 billion in federal stimulus money to address the post-pandemic needs of public school students, many of whom fell behind academically during months of remote learning. The U.S. Department of Education announced on Wednesday that it approved Texas’ plans for spending $12.4 billion allocated to the state. The state’s plan was among the first proposals to receive approval from the federal government. view article arw

More than $4 billion dollars is headed to Texas schools to help students bounce back from the pandemic. The cash came from the Biden administration's stimulus plan. You might remember Texas schools received a large chunk of it in May, with promises of more to come and that's what the Lone Star State is seeing now. view article arw

The U.S. Department of Education approved Texas’ plan to use American Rescue Plan funds to support students from grades K-12, distributing an additional $4.1 billion for the summer and upcoming school year, officials with the department announced Wednesday. The remaining funds were part of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, which was approved to help schools across the country safely reopen and address the impact of the pandemic. In total, Texas will receive more than $12.4 billion in ARP ESSER funds. The approval of the plan will now release the final $4.1 billion that had yet to be distributed, the department said. view article arw

Thousands of school district employees around the Greater Houston Area will enjoy a higher salary next school year, including the approximately 1,100 staffers at La Porte Independent School District, who will see a 4 percent hike in their pay. The district’s board approved the salary increase during its June 23 meeting. The move will cost La Porte ISD $2.677 million, according to Rhonda Cumbie, the district’s chief financial officer. view article arw

Tyler ISD is reiterating the school’s commitment to the Mentoring Alliance after a nonprofit from Wisconsin promoting separation of church and state, requested the district revoke funding to be used for kids’ summer camp costs from the mentorship group. On April 8, the Tyler ISD board of trustees approved a contract with the Mentoring Alliance worth $500,000 to send 314 high-risk area students to the Mentoring Alliance summer camps for 10 weeks at no cost to the kids’ families. view article arw

Abilene Independent School District trustees Thursday approved a roughly 3% pay raise for all regular employees. Considered one of the first steps in the district's budgeting process, the employee compensation package will cost $3 million-plus more than what would have been paid in wages with no increase. view article arw

With the passage of its 2021-22 budget, officials with River Road Independent School District are preparing for a school year as close to normal as possible, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wane across the region. The River Road ISD Board of Trustees recently passed the $15,099,364 budget during a special meeting. Andy Nies, assistant superintendent, said there were no significant changes to the budget presented to the board during its recent workshop, other than a small uptick in expected revenue to the district from an updated template from the state. view article arw

For the past year, the Montgomery ISD board of trustees have made balancing the district’s spending and improving employee salaries a priority. At their June 29 meeting, the board adopted a balanced, $79.5 million budget at the for the district’s upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget includes $75.9 million in district general fund revenues and $79.3 million in spending, as well as $4.6 million in student nutrition fund spending with $4.7 million in revenues and $23.6 million in debt service fund spending and $24.1 million in revenues. A school district’s debt service fund pays principal and interest for district debt used for new facilities and facilities upgrades, according to a news release from MISD. view article arw

A grant provided to DeSoto ISD through the Texas Education Agency’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III Fund will pay incentives to retain current teachers and attract new ones who will be a part of the district this coming school year, the district announced Tuesday. view article arw

In an effort to reward and retain teachers, school districts continue to offer bonuses and incentives for better pay. DeSoto ISD is giving a $3,000 bonus for all current and new employees. Beyond that, there are even more ways teachers can get much larger checks this year. "We are going to pay $3,000 to new and returning employees who are making a difference and that is everyone in our organization," said Mia Story, DeSoto ISD Chief of Human Resources. view article arw

Kilgore ISD teachers and staff members will see a pay raise in the 2021-22 school year after trustees approved the move this past week. Classroom teachers could see an increase as much as $6,300, the district said. “We are really excited about being about to provide our classroom teachers and staff members with these pay increases for the upcoming school year,” board President Reggie Henson said. “Our Bulldog faculty and staff do an incredible job with our students and we appreciate everything they do for our students and schools.” view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas school district is under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation over money provided to a faith-based summer camp. The foundation is demanding Tyler ISD revoke a subsidy of $500,000 to The Mentoring Alliance for summer camp. The district intended for the money to help send high-risk students to the camps to play academic catch up, but the FRFF argues the district is in violation of the first amendment. “We’d like the school district to revoke the money and ensure they’re no longer using public funds to fund religion,” said Chris Line, an attorney with the FFRF. The Wisconsin-based foundation is demanding Tyler ISD revoke a $500,000 subsidy that was approved by school board members at an April workshop. view article arw