$2.3 million in grants for mental health, afterschool
supports also approved
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education
voted 8-0 with one abstention to approve a $41 million budget amendment to fund
additional supports for special education, pay for personal protective
equipment (PPE), enhanced cleaning services and supplies, and computer devices
The extra funding for special education amounts to $17 million and has been under consideration since August of 2020. The funding will pay primarily for assigning speech-language pathologists to campuses where students in need have been identified and allow for expansion of the number of existing Intensive Intervention Teams. The funding will also pay for the addition of mental health specialists to address students’ emotional and behavioral challenges. The district will also use the additional funding to increase the number of occupational and physical therapists and assistive technology specialists.
The board also adopted by a vote of 9-0 the district’s 2020
tax rate of $1.1331 per $100 of taxable property value to allow the Harris
County Tax Assessor-Collector to begin the preparation of 2020 tax bills.
The Houston Independent School District will receive $1
million from the Moody Foundation to help close the digital divide by
purchasing computers for HISD’s Achieve 180 students on some of the district’s
The funds will be used to purchase more than 2,000 devices
for students in pre-K through fifth grade at schools where Achieve 180 program
is in place. Achieve 180 is a research-based action plan to support,
strengthen, empower, and increase student achievement in underserved and
underperforming HISD feeder pattern communities.
The Houston Independent
School District Board of Education approved a $54.6 million amendment to the
2020-2021 budget, which includes a $31 million purchase of devices and wireless
hotspots to help close the digital divide and ensure students are equipped to Reconnect Safely and Return Strong when classes resume virtually on Sept. 8.
The district has provided
76,362 devices for students in need since the pandemic and plans to distribute
22,750 additional devices by next month. HISD has provided 6,628 hotspots for
students in need and plans to distribute an additional 19,151 of the wireless
devices by next month as well.
The added appropriations in
the budget amendment will also fund additional special education positions,
personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing signage, plexiglass
dividers, and instructional supports.
2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the
CARES Act, was signed into law. The bill dedicated $13.2 billion for K-12
schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund
(ESSERF). HISD is eligible to apply for ESSERF grant funds under the CARES Act.
Education Agency (TEA) has released the entitlements for HISD under the CARES
Act, ESSERF. These are not additional funds to HISD, they are being used to
offset the loss of average daily attendance (ADA) through the Foundation School
Program (FSP) under Texas school finance.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees
voted 7-2 on Thursday to pass a $2 billion 2020-2021 budget, which includes a
$34.4 million salary and benefits package as well as an increase in employer
contribution to health insurance premiums for employees.
The Houston Independent
School District Board of Education will consider passage of a $2 billion budget
for the 2020-2021 academic year which includes a $34.4 million salary and
benefits package as well as an increase in employer contribution to health
insurance premiums for employees.
The Houston Independent School District has received the
Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) from a worldwide association of school business
officials for producing a 2019-2020 budget that is accurate, informative and
easy to comprehend.
HISD earned the award from the Association of School
Business Officials International (ASBO), which has been in existence for 110
years. To receive the honor, the association required the district to submit a
substantial packet of detailed budget documents, which were evaluated by a
confidential panel of school finance experts.
With a vote of 5-1, HISD’s
Board of Education passed the budget for the 2019-2020 school year that will
increase the district’s minimum wage from $12 an hour to $14 an hour.
Trustees proposed and adopted
an amendment that included $17 million in department cuts but any staff
reductions as a result would be offset by utilizing fund balance.
The spending plan mandates
that district employees will see no increase in health insurance premiums.
The budget approved provides teachers,
full-time counselors, full-time nurses, full-time librarians and other
educational professionals with raises ranging from 3.5 percent to 8 percent,
depending on years of service in HISD.
Trustees also approved
increasing bus drivers’ minimum wage to $18/an hour.
The board also approved an
amendment to provide no raises for staff earning more than $75,000 per
year. Instead, these employees would receive
a one-time bonus of $1000 and two extra vacation days.
HISD’s administrators had
presented a balanced budget for consideration to the Board of Education that
included raises for every district employee and no staff reductions.
Several other amendments were
made by Trustees which administrators will be analyzing over the next several
days to incorporate into the budget.
Houston Independent School District Chief Financial Officer Rene Barajas today will present a proposed budget to Board of Education trustees for the 2019-2020 school year.
The proposed budget is based on current law and includes a $36 million deficit. This deficit is arrived at by estimating several key variables, the most important of which include property values, student enrollment, and recapture obligations.
Under this proposal, the campus per unit allocation, or PUA, would not be cut by $73, and there would be no cuts to schools or departments. However, this does not prevent departments from reorganizing. The budget proposal does not include pay increases or step increases for any employee group.
The HISD Board of Trustees met Monday to hear the first report from district administrators on expectations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.
District officials are projecting an initial $76 million deficit, due in large part to expected declining enrollment and a modest increase in property values – both of which cause the district’s recapture payment to increase.
According to Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, any cuts to the budget to address the deficit will be done in a way that tries to minimize impact to instruction. That task is made harder given the cuts made to operational areas last year. Continue reading →