The Houston Independent School District Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on a plan detailing how funding will be distributed to campuses across the district for the 2016-2017 school year.
The plan is outlined in the district’s annual Resource Allocation Handbook, which campus administrators use to develop their budgets for the coming school year. It calls for a reconfiguration of district funding methods to ensure the neediest students still receive appropriate resources despite budget cuts resulting from the state’s funding formula.
HISD is facing a $107 million shortfall for the 2016-2017 school year because the current school finance plan deems the district property-wealthy and requires it to send millions of local tax dollars back to the state — a process known as recapture. Though nearly 80 percent of HISD students come from low-income families, the district is considered property-wealthy because of rising property values throughout the city.
The reconfiguration plan calls for an increase in funding for students who are designated economically disadvantaged or at-risk, as well as those who are considered homeless or refugees. The funding would be reduced for students who are designated as gifted and talented, but schools will still receive an extra $200 for every student identified as gifted and talented. Currently, the district provides schools with a total of $13 million in gifted and talented funding — almost twice what it receives from the state, which funds only the first 5 percent of students identified as gifted and talented. HISD previously has funded the remainder of students.
The base amount of funding each campus receives from the district is based on the average daily attendance of its student population. The district currently spends $3,589 on elementary and high school students and $3,625 on middle school students. That amount is then weighted to increase funding for certain student groups.
Schools also receive an extra $112 per student, an increase that was approved by the HISD Board of Education during the 2015-2016 school year to fund salary increases. The added boost brought per-student funding up to $3,701 for elementary and high school students and $3,737 for middle school students. The $112 funds the increase in the average salary that campuses pay for their positions.
Under the proposal submitted Thursday to trustees, the overall allotment for each student would decrease by $179 per student, dropping funding to $3,522 for elementary and high school students and $3,558 for middle school students. However, some of that decrease would be offset by increasing the weights for certain student groups.
|2015-2016 PUA||2015-2016 Salary Adj.||2016-2017 Adj.||2016-2017 Proposed PUA|
The reduction to the school allotment is expected to save $40 million. The district also is proposing more than $60 million in cuts to the central office and centrally funded contracts and programs.
Also on Thursday, trustees are expected to consider:
- A resolution that would formally begin the process of renaming Reagan High School so that it better represents the district’s values and diversity. If approved, the campus would be required to form a school-naming committee composed of diverse staff, students, parents, and school stakeholders. That committee would be charged with exploring school renaming options that adhere to board guidelines and submitting recommendations to trustees by May.
- The process is already underway at seven other HISD schools — Grady, Dowling, Jackson, Johnston and Lanier middle schools, and Davis and Lee high schools. The Grady committee was the first to complete the process, unanimously recommending the school be renamed after the nearby Tanglewood neighborhood. If approved by trustees on Thursday, the new name would be Tanglewood Middle School.
- The final reading of a policy revision that would address inconsistencies related to non-comprehensive high school participation in University Interscholastic League sports. The proposed revision would allow only comprehensive high schools to offer UIL athletic activities. Specialty high schools without attendance boundaries would not be able to compete in UIL athletics, but could offer intramural and club sports. UIL athletic programs currently offered at non-comprehensive high schools would be phased out over the next two years, coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 school year. Carnegie Vanguard High School is currently the only specialty campus in HISD offering UIL sports.
The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, 2016, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. Click here to view the full agenda. The board meeting will be broadcast live online at www.hisdtv.org.