HISD board to vote on 2014-2015 budget at special session Thursday

After two months of preparation and review, the Houston ISD Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at district headquarters to consider adopting a $1.74 billion budget for 2014-2015. The proposed budget addresses the district’s key priorities – increasing teacher pay, supporting the implementation of a comprehensive literacy plan, and funding required increases and expenditures that will ultimately save the district long term.

“Preparing an annual budget is a complex process that requires sound forecasting and tough discussions,” Houston Independent School District Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt said. “The workshops, countless hours of review and discussion have resulted in what we believe is a very strong budget proposal that is fair and in line with the district’s goals and priorities.”

Under the proposal, all teachers will receive raises between $1,100 and $2,300, depending on length of service. The budget also begins a phased-in plan to adjust the overall teacher pay scale, bringing starting salaries to $49,100 to make HISD more competitive with neighborhood districts in an active recruiting market.

The final budget also contains an additional $29 per pupil for all schools in the 2014-2015 year, in addition to a $26 per-pupil allocation approved by the board in May. That extra $55 helps move schools to PUA levels that existed before state budget reductions in 2011.

HISD’s Literacy By 3 will receive $1.3 million for professional development for teachers and administrators under the budget proposal. That is in addition to $8.5 million approved by the board last month to provide students with personalized libraries, bookrooms, and other instructional tools.

At the beginning of the public budget process in April, the budget was presented with a projected $9.9 million deficit, but higher district taxable values — 9.5 percent as opposed to the 5 percent originally projected — allowed for extra funding for district priorities.

The meeting will be held in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. 77092. It will be carried live on the district’s website and on HISD-TV, Channel 18 on Comcast, and Channel 99 for AT&T U-verse subscribers.

For a guide to understanding the budget, click here.

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