Spring Branch ISD to host board meeting to discuss budget issues

Spring Branch ISD will hold a board meeting Monday to discuss the district’s budget issues.

HOUSTON, Texas – Spring Branch ISD will hold a board meeting Monday to discuss the district’s budget issues.

The meeting, which will be held at the district’s headquarters located at 955 Campbell, will be another plea for lawmakers to increase funding for basic allotment.

The Texas Education Agency describes the basic allotment as, “the legislatively mandated apportionment of funds from the general revenue funds that go to each school district to provide a basic level of education for the district’s residents.”

The current basic student allotment is $6,160 and the district is asking for it to be raised by $1,000. The legislature is proposing a $90 increase for the first year and $50 for the second. The district says this doesn’t account for inflation.

“For us, it was a very simple minimum ask of saying, ‘if you’re going to increase the basic allotment, let’s start with coverage of inflation of 18%, which equates to about $1,000. So, we were looking at an increase of the basic allotment to about $7,200, as a minimum,” Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustee Secretary John Perez said.

For the 2023 – 2024 school year, the school district expects up to $40M in funding loss. The district said it’s concerned because they won’t be able to offer any raises, which means teachers may start looking for work elsewhere.

“It’s a very competitive market right now. There’s a shortage of teachers across the nation. We care for our teachers very much,” Perez said.

For the 2024 – 2025 school year, they’re looking at a possible $50M loss. They are looking at several options to adjust for the potential loss including school closures and increasing class size.

Spring Branch Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Blaine, Ed. E. said if the legislature does not increase the basic allotment by at least $1,000 the district would have to consider the following:

  • Combine schools/change boundaries
  • Change staffing models, including class sizes
  • Eliminate 10-20% of SBISD staff
  • Remove the 20% local optional homestead exemption
  • Discontinue the block schedule model for Stratford High School
  • Reduce programming and/or institute pay-to-play models for athletics, performing and visual arts
  • Discontinue choice and specialized programs
  • Cut safety and security, counseling and mental health services
  • Cut centralized instructional supports, including but not limited to, interventions, Dyslexia services, and college and career counseling
  • Cut business and operations functions that support the district’s safety, security and fiscal management
  • Raise the tax rate

Cy-Fair ISD issued the following statement:

“We entered this legislative session with four critical priorities related to school finance. Priority number one was for legislators to increase the Basic Allotment (BA) by $1,000 and add an inflationary index. Currently, the allotment is $6,160 and has not been increased since 2019 (and has no inflationary factor). CSHB 100 is the current legislative vehicle for an increase in the BA and includes ONLY a $140 increase in the BA over the biennium (a $90 increase in 2023-24 and an additional $50 increase in 2024-25). A $90 increase to the Basic Allotment would yield approximately $13.1 million for CFISD in the 2023-24 fiscal year; and the additional $50 increase yields approximately $7.3 million in the 2024-25 fiscal year. CSHB 100 is significantly short of our request for a $1,000 increase in the BA, to offset inflationary costs and to provide a raise for all employees (a 1% raise costs approximately $9 million).

If there are no drastic improvements in the key bills related to public education funding before the end of the session, CFISD will be faced with some extremely difficult budget decisions that will negatively impact district programs, students and employees.

Klein ISD released the following statement:

“With 22 days left in the session, we continue to advocate for fully funding safety and security needs and increasing the State-determined amount of funding per student. An approximate 17% inflation rate is impacting all Texas public schools, which haven’t received a budget adjustment in the State-determined amount of funding per student since 2019. This historic inflation is straining our ability to provide excellent and innovative learning opportunities for students in the safe and secure environment that our community expects.” -- https://news.kleinisd.net/2023/05/08/quarter-4-update-from-superintendent-dr-jenny-mcgown/

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