Sara Leon & Associates, LLC

Template Correction

June 2205:00 AM

A message from Omar Garcia:  This only applies to “Harvey” districts – the number of “Harvey” pennies that auto-load in Cell C165 is a negative number and should be a positive number.  The easiest way to fix it is to simply change the negative number to a positive one.  The ‘official’ way it will be corrected is as follows:     (23) read more arw

Last budget cycle, thanks to an infusion of funds from the Texas Legislature, Liberty Hill ISD and districts across the state were able to give sizable raises to teachers.  In Liberty Hill, teachers received raises between four and seven percent, and all other staff received a three percent raise.  Fast forward to today and prospects look much leaner for all school districts across Texas. The LHISD Board of Trustees was faced with that reality Monday, voting to approve a one-percent increase for staff from the market midpoint. The across the board raise is expected to increase the district’s payroll by $345,235.  “I’m very happy with the work of Rosanna Guerrero, our CFO,” said Superintendent Steve Snell. “She has been very diligent so we can maximize teacher compensation as much as possible. But I’m disappointed that there’s just not more funding available to compensate our teachers. view article arw

After being instructed to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic, Pflugerville ISD Chief Operating Officer Ed Ramos said his department’s goal has been to find at least $3 million to trim. Ramos returned to the PfISD board of trustees on June 18 and said his staff has ultimately identified more than $5 million in cuts from the remainder of the district's 2019-20 fiscal year budget. view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The TEA’s elementary and secondary school emergency relief fund will send nearly $1.2 billion to Texas schools. But, those funds won’t be supplemental as some school districts originally thought. “It looks like that instead of having some supplemental funds, they’re going to be used to plug any budget gaps in the state’s funding of public schools,” said Marty Crawford, Tyler ISD’s superintendent.  After learning his school district wasn’t getting an extra $4,315,535 — but instead, that money was to fill gaps in its budget — Crawford said he wasn’t disappointed, but grateful.  “The state made a promise to us early during the shut down that school funding, we wouldn’t have to worry about that, that we’d finish the fiscal year whole,” said Crawford. “This was the pool of money they’re able to plug that gap because of the economic downturn that already effected school budgets.”   (19) view article arw

Humble ISD’s new $434 million budget was designed with three dominant goals in mind — prepare for future economic hardships due to COVID-19, retain all Humble ISD employees and continue to fund important student initiatives, district officials said.  The Humble ISD board of trustees unanimously approved the 2021 fiscal year budget, which includes a nearly $14 million surplus, during a special school board meeting on June 16. view article arw

Cy-Fair ISD board members approved a $1.04 billion budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which includes a $39.8 million shortfall to provide district employees with raises in the coming year.  “We’ve actually adopted several deficit budgets, but we’ve been very fortunate, and we have not realized any of those deficits to this point,” CEO Karen Smith said at the June 11 board work session. “We fully believe that we will be adding a little bit to fund balance this year for 2019-20.”  The final amended budget for 2019-20—which initially included a projected $27.5 million deficit—shows the district will add at least $2.7 million to its fund balance by the time the fiscal year ends, according to Smith, who said the district already has about six and a half months of expenses in its fund balance. view article arw

The Georgetown ISD board of trustees voted to approve its budget for fiscal year 2020-21 on June 15.  The budget includes the general fund, the food service fund and the debt service fund.  For revenues, the district anticipates bringing in a total of $174.56 million, including local, state and federal funding. That is broken down into $130.14 million for the general fund, $5.44 million for the food service fund and $38.98 million for the debt service fund. view article arw

The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees approved the district’s $737.5 million budget for the 2020-21 year at its June 15 meeting. The approved budget does not include raises for teachers and staff, nor does it include step increases. FBISD Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn said pay increases were not included in the budget because of the need to be fiscally conservative during the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. view article arw

The Georgetown ISD board of trustees is looking to adopt an $159.83 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21 during its June 15 meeting. The proposed budget includes a proposed maintenance and operations tax rate of $0.9964 per $100 in valuation, a $0.0136 decrease from last year. The district will also maintain its $0.329 per $100 in valuation interest and sinking fund rate as it had last year, according to district documents. view article arw

Trustees in Richardson ISD voted unanimously June 15 to adopt a budget for school year 2020-21.  Staff is projecting the upcoming year’s expenditures will total $386.7 million, a 5% increase from the 2019-20 budget. General fund revenue is projected to increase by 2.8% to $379.1 million.  The majority of costs are related to instruction and instruction-related services, Chief Financial Officer David Pate said. The general fund also includes both recurring and one-time funds for literacy intervention, COVID-19 intervention, pre-K expansion and special education costs.  A 1% raise for all employees and a $750 retention stipend for certain full-time, returning employees who meet requirements outlined in the budget are also included, according to Pate. view article arw

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s 2020-21 budget includes increased pay for teachers along with a higher recapture payment to the state. During the June 15 GCISD board meeting, trustees adopted the budget for the upcoming school year while taking into consideration school funding laws approved during the 2019 legislative session. The budget is composed of three parts that the board must adopt annually: the general operating budget, the child nutrition budget and the debt service budget. view article arw

On Monday night, Belton ISD’s Board of Trustees approved pay raises for the 2020-2021 school year. Approved salary adjustments will make the district’s pay competitive with districts of comparable sizes and invest in providing better learning experiences for students, according to a press release from the school district. It is also to retain and attract quality employees. view article arw

Richardson ISD employees could receive a 1% pay raise in the coming school year, according to a recommendation discussed during Monday’s school board meeting. All employees would also receive a $750 retention stipend if they worked during the 2019-2020 school year and return in 2020-21. view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees will be discussing plans for the upcoming school year at its meeting on Tuesday.At the previous meeting, the board discussed plans that included returning to school as normal on Aug. 17, continuing with complete virtual learning as they did to finish the 2019/2020 school year and a hybrid plan that mixes the schedule where some students will go to school and some will learn virtually for the first half of the day before switching.  Also during the meeting, Megan Bradley, the district’s chief financial officer, will discuss budget planning with the board; the employee health insurance plan for the upcoming years; and a lighting project for Leo Buckley Stadium. view article arw

State to keep $1.2B in aid

June 1505:45 AM

Instead of going directly to districts, money will pay down state portion of school costs.  Since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered campuses in mid-March, the Austin school district has shelled out $9.8 million for technology, academics and premium pay to workers on the front lines to ensure student learning would continue.  District administrators anticipate spending about $36 million more for the 2020-21 school year for remote learning, training materials and protective equipment.  Despite a federal economic relief package, Texas school districts, including Austin, might be left absorbing most of those coronavirus-related costs. view article arw

Armed with more questions than answers about the future — COVID-19 costs? 11-month school year? Classes that are virtual, in-person or hybrid?  What do we do with calls to defund our police department? — the Houston ISD trustees Thursday night trudged through another lengthy meeting and approved a $2 billion budget for the 2020-21 school year in a 7-2 vote. view article arw

The economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic has left some of Texas’ biggest cities facing a difficult choice: cutting services like libraries, pools and parks, or raising taxes on their residents in the middle of the worst economy in a generation.  “For example, this summer you’ll see swimming pools not opening. I think you'll see branch libraries not opening,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, which represents city governments around the state. “I can't speak for any particular city, but I think it’s going to be a deeper, far deeper recession than what we saw 12 years ago.” view article arw

At the June 11 meeting, the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 7-2 to pass the $2 billion budget with $34.4 million salary and benefits package. Trustees also approved $4.6 million for a program for at-risk students with physical and emotional needs and a $600,000 grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council to help pay for 10 new buses in the HISD bus fleet. view article arw

Learning environments for Frisco ISD’s 2020-21 school year could include face-to-face instruction, a hybrid of in-person and at-home learning and 100% virtual instruction.  District leaders presented these options to the board June 11 for what school could look come August 13, but Superintendent Mike Waldrip said FISD ultimately has little say for how school can be conducted in the upcoming school year. view article arw

District eyes 2% pay raise

June 1208:25 AM

Fredericksburg Independent School District Board of Trustees received a second budget presentation during a special Monday meeting with a teacher pay increase on the agenda.  The meeting focused largely on the general fund, school nutrition and debt service fund.  “Those are the three budgets that we have to adopt by the end of the budget year (June 30),” said Deborah Ottmers, assistant superintendent of Business and Finance.  Board members took no action. A final budget could be adopted Monday, June 15. view article arw

In the days and weeks leading up to Monday’s budget hearing, Fort Bend ISD teachers and employees urged trustees to reconsider including an annual employee salary increases and the customary step increase for teachers next year. However, citing concerns that COVID-19-related issues will cause an economic downtown, Superintendent Charles Dupre and administrators continued to recommended a number of budget cuts next year, including employee raises and teacher step increases. view article arw

The Houston ISD board of education approved the district's $2 billion budget for 2020-21, which included partially restored raises for teachers and maintained a $3.5 million increase in police salaries, despite mounting outcry calling for cuts. The budget also adds 70 wraparound specialists, support staff who help students navigate physical, mental, social and emotional needs. view article arw

Federal aid through the CARES act is helping, but it likely won't be enough to fill the holes in cities' budgets caused by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic has left some of Texas’ biggest cities facing a difficult choice: cutting services like libraries, pools and parks, or raising taxes on their residents in the middle of the worst economy in a generation.  “For example, this summer you’ll see swimming pools not opening. I think you'll see branch libraries not opening,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, which represents city governments around the state. “I can't speak for any particular city, but I think it’s going to be a deeper, far deeper recession than what we saw 12 years ago.” view article arw

COVID-19 pandemic could wreak havoc with the Hays CISD Board of Trustees’ 2020-2021 budget.  Trustees are preparing for the upcoming school year even as they walk in unfamiliar territory, looking at fall enrollment figures and what to expect even as the pandemic continues to escalate in Hays County.  The board proposed a new budget with post-COVID-19 projections using a virtual presentation that was available to the public.  For the 2020-2021 school year, the district will be operating under the second year of House Bill 3 (HB3). The bill was passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019. The purpose of the bill was to provide more funds for classrooms, increase teacher payroll and decrease tax rates. While the summer season is starting, schools are still making decisions about reopening schools for the upcoming year. view article arw

Northside Independent School District, the largest in San Antonio, is slated to get more than $17 million in federal stimulus funds passed through the state, which the Texas Education Agency is using to maintain its own funding commitments under state law.  More than $21 million is earmarked for San Antonio ISD and more than $11 million for North East ISD, according to entitlement amounts listed on the TEA website. view article arw

Like the other school districts around the area, and across the state, officials with the River Road Independent School District are having to prepare the budget for the 2020-2021 school year with some unknowns because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. view article arw

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Since the onset of the pandemic, school districts in Texas have been concerned about a shortfall in state funding.  When the CARES Act divided out money for schools, some districts though they could use the money to cover impacts of COVID-19. While the money will help, schools won't be given the money directly. view article arw

Wichita Falls ISD trustees dealt with numbers Tuesday from a 10-cent increase in school lunches to an estimated $1.5 million budget shortfall to 0 pay raises for district employees for the 2020-2021 academic year.  WFISD officials delved into planning a new budget amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact on Tuesday during a virtual special session. The school board is expected to have a public hearing on the budget June 23. view article arw

Richardson ISD plans on giving employees a 1% raise in the upcoming school year. Returning faculty members will also receive a $750 stipend, Superintendent Jeannie Stone told the board at its June 8 meeting. “I believe that [the stipend] more than anything communicates value and speaks to the employee retention and the staff morale,” she said. view article arw

Montgomery ISD faces two major financial challenges as it finalizes its 2020-21 budget for adoption end of June: a potential $2.8 million deficit, and underpaid teachers and staff, officials said.  “[Our] staff is starting to see for the first time some of our best and most talented educators are leaving and going to neighboring districts, ... and [we're] not in a position financially where [we] can do anything about that,” Chief Financial Officer Kris Lynn said at June 1 budget workshop. view article arw

Houston ISD's latest proposed budget for 2020-21 slashes funds for proposed raises from $26.24 million to $9.59 million as officials confronted uncertainty on whether additional state and federal support will come amid the coronavirus outbreak.  "We're on our own right now," Chief Financial Officer Glenn Reed told trustees at a June 4 workshop, calling the proposed budget a "cautious approach."  The change came after work between the district and the teachers union on compensation had reached a workable agreement, according to a letter from Houston Federation of Teachers president Zeph Capo.   (05) view article arw

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The COVID-19 CARES Act has created a windfall of relief funds for school districts across the state, but officials with the the Lubbock Independent School District say they do not know how much of that money they will see.  Federal relief money meant to offset unexpected COVID-19 expenses, combined with some strategic budget cuts, could create an additional $9 million for the district in the 2020-2021 school year.  One local group says excess funds should be used for teacher raises across the board. However, LISD Superintendent Kathy Rollo said she believes it’s too early to tell how much money the district will get from the state and where it could be used. view article arw

Weatherford ISD’s revenue loss from the COVID-19 pandemic could be lower than expected, according to a presentation from Weatherford ISD Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Lori Boswell on end of year budget projections Monday evening.  “So basically, all school activities have been closed since March 13,” Boswell said. “We budgeted $83.6 million in revenue and we expect to receive $83.4 million, so we’re really only expected to lose through all of this about $186,000 — if everything comes in the way we anticipate. I’m really pleased with that.” view article arw

DESOTO, TX – With the recent news of the unfortunate deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I see and hear the pain and unrest of our community and communities across this country.  As I watch the protests, I see the many voices and perspectives of these experiences. I see human beings combining their energy and influence to better the position and experience of African Americans in this country. In those crowds, I see faces from every race and walk of life, an image that poses a familiar similarity in the support of civil rights and equality and a dramatic shift from the segregationist times in which I grew up. view article arw

As school districts consider how and when to get students back to classrooms, they are facing a financial riddle with enormous implications: Every back-to-school plan involves new spending at a time when states and districts are bracing for significant cuts.  The needs are enormous. Students who fell behind this spring will require extra help. Counselors will be needed to help children who have lost family or suffered trauma. Nurses will be called on to ensure students and staff are healthy. view article arw