Category Archives: Budget

HISD receives $1 million grant from Moody Foundation to help close digital divide

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 underperforming campuses.

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.

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HISD Board approves $54.6 million budget amendment to help students Reconnect Safely, Return Strong

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.

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HISD eligible for COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act

In March 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.

The Texas 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.

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HISD 2019-2020 budget earns top honors for financial accuracy, accountability

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.

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HISD Board of Education approves budget to raise minimum wage to $14 an hour

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.

HISD budget proposal for 2019-2020 includes no cuts to campus PUA, no pay increases

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. 

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HISD administrators begin 2019-2020 budget discussions  

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

HISD Board of Education approves 2018-2019 budget

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a $2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 school year.

The budget includes $17 million in increases for special education, dyslexia programs, and Achieve 180, the research-based program that will continue next school year to support underserved and underperforming schools. The budget also includes a performance review by the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB).

The board also voted to reduce the proposed performance review allotment from $2.5 million to $1 million, with the difference of $1.5 million being transferred immediately to the general fund reserve for operations. The total cost of the performance review to be conducted by the LBB has not yet been determined.  The LBB is expected to begin working on the performance review in fall 2018 so that findings may be used by the board in the decision-making process during the next budget cycle.

As other large school districts in Texas, HISD continues to face looming budget shortfalls in the coming years due to inadequate state funding and increasing recapture payments. HISD has been designated by the state as a property-wealthy school district under the state’s school finance system, despite the fact that almost 80 percent of students are considered low-income.

Recapture requires districts that exceed a certain per-student property wealth level to send local tax dollars to the state. The 2018-19 budget has a $272.5 million recapture payment budgeted.