Current Release: Release Date: ROUND 2 - 01/17/2022 Release 2 is now available for download. This release makes the Additional State Aid for Homestead Exemption that begins with the 22-23 school year an offset against the Formula Transition Grant, if applicable - other minor changes were made as well (See Notes tab). Link: https://esc13.net/resources/state-aid-budget-template To download the SOF template from the ESC 13 website, Click On “Round 2 – 01/17/2022” or the “Download the template” Button.    (20) view article arw

CONROE-MONTGOMERY COUNTY — A pair of school districts from Montgomery County were honored last week for their adherence to best practices in the acquisitions of goods and services. Conroe ISD and Magnolia ISD were given the Award of Merit by the Texas Association of School Business Officials for exhibiting responsible and effective use of public funds. "Responsible use of taxpayers' dollars is a duty not taken lightly," Conroe ISD Director of Purchasing Rick Reeves said in a news release. "We are proud of being recognized for our dedication to conscientious fiscal management." view article arw

The Spring-area school districts were two of 53 educational organizations honored with the award for professional spending standards.  SPRING, TX — A pair of school districts from the Spring area were honored last week for their adherence to best practices in the acquisitions of goods and services.  Spring ISD and Klein ISD were given the Award of Merit by the Texas Association of School Business Officials for exhibiting responsible and effective use of public funds. view article arw

CONROE, TEXAS (January 5, 2022) – For the third consecutive year, Conroe ISD has received the Purchasing Award of Merit from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) for its commitment to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services. “Responsible use of taxpayers’ dollars is a duty not taken lightly,” said Rick Reeves, Conroe ISD Director of Purchasing. “We are proud of being recognized for our dedication to conscientious fiscal management.” view article arw

With school districts throughout Central Texas struggling to hire staff, including Pflugerville ISD, district officials are ramping up strategies to shore up staff retention and recruitment. As part of that campaign, board members during a Dec. 16 meeting approved two measures involving monetary stipends and compensation boosts. view article arw

Williamson County Commissioners withheld CARES Act funding from Leander ISD over optional reading materials some parents and county leaders felt were inappropriate. view article arw

Williamson County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to allocate additional federal coronavirus relief funds to school districts in the county except for Leander ISD and Round Rock ISD during its Dec. 14 meeting. LISD and RRISD were excluded from this round of funding—the second batch of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security Act the county has distributed to schools—over concerns commissioners voiced about inappropriate books in school libraries and critical race theory in the school curriculum. “It’s complicated for me today because I want to help the students,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said. However, she said does not want the county to allocate money to school districts that have allowed books in their libraries "that we would consider X-rated.” view article arw

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two school districts in Williamson County could be excluded from receiving a portion of $14 million in federal funding under the CARES Act because of recent controversies about books. On Tuesday, Williamson County commissioners approved the dispersal of funding for all county school districts except Round Rock and Leander ISDs. Commissioner Valerie Covey explained the court wouldn’t approve the funding for the districts in Leander and Round Rock, because they didn’t support how those districts have handled these books. “I think we send a clear message to school districts that we’re not okay with sharing our tax dollars with people who put smut in the room,” Covey said. “It’s ridiculous.”    (15) view article arw

Garland ISD is applying to receive $49 million in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations and $110 million in American Rescue Plan funding. Applications will be made in June and August 2022. In order to be eligible for the funding, the district is required to update its safe return policy and give a detailed plan on how all funds plan to be used. view article arw

The special education department in Dripping Springs ISD will undergo an audit by an outside agency after the district discovered two policies missing. The district's board of trustees voted to approve the new audit at the Dec. 13 voting meeting. The special education department is currently under audit by the state as part of a regular cycle of reviews to ensure all Texas school districts comply with state and federal regulations. As part of the audit, the Texas Education Agency found Dripping Springs was missing two policies. The audit did not include a system or programmatic review, according to board documents. Both missing policies were installed by the board by unanimous vote on Dec. 13. The first policy requires that teachers undergo annual training on educating students with dyslexia. The second policy states that when a child moves from early childhood intervention (ECI) to early childhood special education (ESCE) services, the district will develop an individualized education program (IEP) by the child’s third birthday, according to documents. view article arw

Keller ISD improved its score on the 2021 School FIRST–or Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, according to a Dec. 13 presentation to trustees. The 2021 report reflects the school district's management of its financial resources for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Scott Wrehe, the district’s chief financial officer, said Keller ISD received a score of 88, which classifies as a B—or “above standard”—rating. Ratings were first announced in August and, after an opportunity for appeal, were finalized in November. KISD’s score is an increase from the 84 received in the 2020 report, he said. “Most districts are probably in the A-B range,” Wrehe said. “That’s our goal and, as you saw from last year, we moved up four points, and we’re right at that goal of ours.” view article arw

Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has started a new series of the template that is now available for download. This new release incorporates the provisions in SB 1 related to the increase in the homestead exemption from $25K to $40K beginning with the 2022-23 school year, and also incorporates the ADA hold harmless provision recently announced by TEA for the 21-22 school year (please read the details for both on the Notes tab). As always, please stay tuned for any updates – there will probably be some. view article arw

Trustees in Plano ISD approved a recapture payment of almost $190 million for the 2021-22 school year during their Dec. 7 meeting.   Recapture—also known as the Robin Hood plan—redistributes property tax dollars from property-wealthy districts to those deemed property-poor by the Texas Education Agency. The district’s payment into the state’s recapture system for the current school year is a more than $8 million increase over last year, district officials said when the budget was approved in June.  "The law provides several options to accomplish the [required] property wealth reduction," PISD Chief Financial Officer Johnny Hill said. "In an election held all the way back in 1993, the district voters approved the ... purchase of attendance credits from the Texas Education Agency [for the recapture payment]." view article arw

The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) recognized Conroe Independent School District for excellence in budget presentation with the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the 2021–2022 budget year. ASBO International’s MBA promotes and recognizes best budget presentation practices in school districts. Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents. view article arw

Last Tuesday, in a regular meeting of Chambers County Commissioners Court, the Court approved payments to Anahuac, Barbers Hill, East Chambers, and Goose Creek Independent Districts for School Equalization Fund and tax abatement adjustments. The total amount of $4 Million will be divided equally among the four ISD’s over two years. Each ISD will receive $500,000 a year for the next two years. The $4 Million funds were earned from Chapter 381 abatements awarded by Chambers County to developers, industry, and other businesses who wish to locate in Chambers County. view article arw

The Judson Independent School District’s board of trustees on Tuesday approved retention incentives ranging from $400-$1,000 for all employees. The incentives — which total an estimated $4.2 million — were approved for teachers, substitutes and staff employed by Judson ISD by Nov. 19, according to a news release. The employees must remain at Judson ISD throughout the school year. Full-time employees will receive $1,000 and part-time employees will be paid $500. Substitutes who have worked more than 50 days will be paid $500 and substitutes who have worked 20-49 days will be paid $400. view article arw

Lufkin ISD has earned a stellar report card for its finances as revealed during the financial integrity rating system report discussed during Thursday’s board meeting.  LISD received a rating of “A, superior achievement” for the 2019-20 district data. The district also received 100/100 points on the 20 “tests” it passed on items that included being in compliance with all payment terms on all debt agreements and making timely payments to government agencies.  The basis for the findings come from certain financial measurements, ratios and other indicators established by the commissioner of education in the Financial Accountability Rating Form, chief financial officer Charlotte Bynum said.  “The purpose of this rating is to hold school districts accountable for their financial management practices and to help us to see areas where we might need to improve,” she said. view article arw

The Equity Center's Deputy Director Josh Sanderson provides the latest information on how the Texas Education Agency will adjust attendance percentages decimated by the COVID pandemic.    (17) view article arw

Lewisville ISD approves Robin Hood

November 1905:00 AM
 

Lewisville ISD will pay $57.4 million in attendance credit payments to the state of Texas, the district’s Board of Trustees decided in a unanimous vote Monday evening. “This is the annual action item that we must do with the TEA to tell them how we want to do recapture,” said R. Mark Youngs, Lewisville ISD’s Chief Financial Officer. “There [are] three different ways we can do it. We are selecting the least expensive way, and that is approving attendance credits from the state.” The other two options Youngs cited were to transfer property or merge Lewisville ISD with a “property-poor” district. Youngs contended that purchasing attendance credits was the most economically prudent of these three options. view article arw

And when you’re on the Forbes List, well, you’re among the best. For the second time in three years the Mansfield School District has made the Forbes List for America’s Best-in-State Employers. The MISD was ranked 68th overall among businesses in the state of Texas. Forbes partnered with market research company Statista. Through a survey they were able to pinpoint the organizations liked best by employees of America’s best employers in each state. The ranking was based on an independent survey. The survey sampled 80,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 500 employees. Participants remained anonymous, allowing them to freely share their opinions. view article arw

The 2021-22 school year was supposed to be a return to relative normal for students in Fort Bend ISD, after more than a year of mostly virtual school amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic. But whether because of a spike in cases spurred by the delta variant of COVID-19, a concern over a lack of mask mandates in schools or something else entirely, that has not happened. And that fact could have consequences, both for the district’s budget and also for the students who have not yet returned to in-person classes. FBISD's enrollment this year was more than 2,000 students lower than projected, and the district still has about 750 students enrolled in its virtual learning program, deputy superintendent Steve Bassett said during a recent school board meeting. In Texas, a school district’s funding is largely dependent on how many students attend in-person classes. The state typically calculates how much a district receives per student based on in-class attendance – a measure state leaders temporarily did away with earlier in the pandemic. “We’re anticipating a significant deficit and will use a combination of (federal stimulus money) and fund balance to ensure we meet the rules regarding 90 days of fund balance,” Bassett said. view article arw

Calhoun County ISD earned a top rating for financial integrity from the state’s accountability system. The district’s board heard the report during a Monday, Nov. 8, public hearing in Port O’Connor. Chief Financial Officer Robin Martinez conducted a public hearing about the results of a Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). view article arw

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Education Agency is accepting applications for Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports, or TCLAS, a program that helps provide tutoring to students who have fallen behind due to COVID-19. More than $1.1 billion are available to support Texas public education students through TCLAS and another $100 million are available specifically for tutoring to support students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 slide, which is a loss in education due to the many months of online learning. Kelvey Oeser, the deputy commissioner of educator support for the Texas Education Agency, says parents need to communicate with their children’s school district to ensure their child is getting the help they need. “Parents are definitely students’ first best advocates,” she said. view article arw

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board held a public hearing over the district’s results from the annual Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) audit, as mandated by TEA. For the sixth year in a row, Henderson ISD was ranked ‘superior’ with a score of 100. This year, the district was evaluated with 19 indicators, as indicator five, which dealt with total unrestricted net position balance, was not scored this year. view article arw

BOGATA — Tiffany Mabe gave Rivercrest ISD trustees some good news on the district’s financial health Thursday night during the school board meeting in the administration building. Rivercrest, for the second year in a row, received a superior rating on the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, said Mabe, who is the district’s chief financial officer. The rating system is a tool TEA uses to make sure the state’s public school systems are held accountable for their financial practices. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — Recent enrollment numbers at Austin ISD reveal that the district didn't meet its projections. They fell about 3,000 students short. Now they will also be losing millions in funding.  Alejandro Delgado, enrollment executive director at AISD, said Austin is growing, but this doesn't necessarily mean kids are part of that growth.  He said some families are leaving the city and moving to the suburbs.   "Even though we're growing, affordability is driving families outside of Austin to neighboring districts," said Delgado.  These big moves are precisely the reason why AISD took a big hit. The district expected to have 77,000 students enrolled, but fell short by about 3,000.  "It is a very important aspect of our funding, whether kids are in our buildings and are choosing Austin ISD," added Delgado. view article arw

Lewisville ISD will pay $57.4 million in attendance credit payments to the state of Texas, the district’s Board of Trustees decided in a unanimous vote Monday evening. “This is the annual action item that we must do with the TEA to tell them how we want to do recapture,” said R. Mark Youngs, Lewisville ISD’s Chief Financial Officer. “There [are] three different ways we can do it. We are selecting the least expensive way, and that is approving attendance credits from the state.” The other two options Youngs cited were to transfer property or merge Lewisville ISD with a “property-poor” district. Youngs contended that purchasing attendance credits was the most economically prudent of these three options. view article arw

The San Antonio Independent School District board of trustees approved a $500 stipend for all full-time employees Monday, which will cost the district $4.1 million. At the same time, SAISD is facing a $50 million funding shortfall from the state because of decreased student enrollment and attendance. The district will cover the cost of the retention stipends with the $78.3 million in federal coronavirus relief funds it allocated for this school year. view article arw

Pearland ISD’s financial operations were free of deficiencies or questionable expenses during fiscal year 2020-21, according to the district’s annual financial report. The PISD board of trustees approved the FY 2020-21 audited financial statements during its regular board meeting on Nov. 9. Section 44.008 of the Texas Education Code states school districts are required to have their financial statements audited annually by a certified public accountant. view article arw

After the 2020-21 school year was upheaved by the pandemic, many educators said they expected the 2021-22 school year to go back to normal, with most students returning to in-person instruction. As such, Fort Bend ISD’s demographers projected student enrollment to largely rebound during the 2021-22 school year. However, 77,600 students were enrolled as of Oct. 25, which is 2,101 students short from the district’s projected enrollment of 79,701—a gap widely attributed to the pandemic.  Texas school districts receive the bulk of their funding from local property taxes and the state, which allocates funding based on average daily attendance. Because FBISD built its fiscal year 2021-22 budget around higher projected enrollment numbers, officials expect the district to receive about $18 million less from the state than anticipated, Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn said. view article arw

Coppell ISD’s Chief Financial Officer Diana Sircar updated the Board of Trustees on the district’s financial management report for the 2019-2020 school year at its Monday meeting.  Sircar said the financial rating came from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas which ensures that districts are financially responsible and encourages them to improve their financial management every year. view article arw

Following Proposition A in Pearland ISD passing with more than 61% of voter support, according to unofficial results for Brazoria County, the district is celebrating the financial support that will allow it to focus on remaining competitive with neighboring districts, according to district officials. With the passing of Proposition A in the voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, the district’s property tax rate is set at $1.3152 per $100 valuation for the 2021-22 school year and will net PISD an additional $7.4 million in state and local funding. All results are unofficial until canvassed; PISD will canvass election results Nov. 15. “I’m super excited,” PISD board President Sean Murphy said. “I think it is a big win for both the district and parents, teachers, just everyone in the community to be able to get more funding back from the state.” The district was facing financial struggles created by issues outside of the district’s control, and the additional funding approved by voters will help alleviate those struggles, PISD trustee Crystal Carbone told Community Impact Newspaper on Election Day. The two biggest causes for the district’s financial issues are the increase in the property values within the homes in PISD’s region and a decrease in enrollment numbers in the district, especially at the elementary school level, Murphy said. PISD Superintendent John Kelly mirrored Murphy’s explanation in the district’s financial struggles. view article arw

Lake Travis ISD voters supported a tax ratification election by 59.12% that would generate an additional $3 million in funding to the district, according to unofficial election results. The funding for maintenance and operation expenses would not be subject to recapture by the state. This tax proportionally lowers interest and sinking tax rates in the district. Under recapture, if a district generates excess funding from taxes, a threshold determined by the state, it is taken by the state to be distributed among districts that do not meet their funding requirements. Since 1993, Texas has utilized a “Robin Hood” system to recapture funds from schools who have excess income, or annual tax revenue that is higher than the maintenance and operating costs determined by the state, according to the Texas Education Agency. Those funds are then redistributed to districts that do not meet the maintenance and operating cost threshold, the TEA said. view article arw

Following Proposition A in Pearland ISD passing with more than 61% of voter support, according to unofficial results for Brazoria County, the district is celebrating the financial support that will allow it to focus on remaining competitive with neighboring districts, according to district officials.  With the passing of Proposition A in the voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, the district’s property tax rate is set at $1.3152 per $100 valuation for the 2021-22 school year and will net PISD an additional $7.4 million in state and local funding. All results are unofficial until canvassed; PISD will canvass election results Nov. 15.  “I’m super excited,” PISD board President Sean Murphy said. “I think it is a big win for both the district and parents, teachers, just everyone in the community to be able to get more funding back from the state.” view article arw

Carroll ISD received nearly $2 million from the Texas Education Agency after officials discovered the district has been overpaying its recapture payments to the state. Recapture—also known as the Robin Hood plan—requires property-wealthy districts to make payments to the state, which are then redistributed to property-poor districts. According to William Wooten, CISD assistant superintendent for financial services, there has been a “systemic recapture reporting error.” He said the district makes payments from its maintenance and operations fund to Southlake’s tax increment financing district. But the district’s finances reported the revenue as earned rather than payments made, resulting in TEA over-collecting recapture funds. “It is a really good thing,” said Wooten, who joined CISD in August 2020. “That money will potentially eliminate a budgetary deficit.” Southlake’s tax increment financing district provides a mechanism to fund development in the southeast area of the city and on CISD properties. The financing district also protects a portion of the revenue Carroll ISD earns from property taxes in that area from being used in calculations for recapture payments. view article arw