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 →
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.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted in favor of requesting a performance review to be conducted by the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
After considering public input since the May regular board meeting, trustees voted six to three to request a performance review from the LBB and concurrently withdraw their previous approval to procure an external performance audit. The LBB will begin working on the performance review this fall. Its findings will be used by the board in time to make informed decisions during the next budget cycle.
The Board also voted by a five-vote majority against the proposed 2018-19 school year budget. State law requires the budget be approved by June 30. Continue reading →
The Board of Education on Monday discussed proposed changes to HISD’s Resource Allocation System that address the district’s $115 million budget deficit for the 2018-19 school year.
The changes include a reduction to the Per Unit Allocation (PUA), an increase in the small school subsidy, and the centralization of funding for Career and Technical Education.
HISD faces a $115 million budget deficit for the 2018-2019 school year. To address the deficit, the district is proposing cutting $70 million from central office. Originally, the district proposed cutting $45 million from campuses, but that figure was reduced to $34 million by anticipating and assigning unspent funds from the 2018-2019 budget. Continue reading →
‘Critical shortage’ positions eliminated from list of positions eligible for RIF
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider a reduction in force for certain term- and continuing-contract employees.
The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, 2018 in the Manuel Rodríguez Jr. Board Auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. Click here to view the full agenda.
Trustees are expected to consider the two annual reduction in force (RIF) agenda items related to being able to execute a reduction in force of teachers and other campus-based employees, as well as certain central office employees who hold term and continuing contracts. These agenda items were originally scheduled for consideration at the Board’s February meeting, however trustees voted to delay a vote until March. Continue reading →
HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said Tuesday that the departure of Superintendent Richard Carranza does not change the vision and mission of the district, which remains committed to delivering a quality education to all children “in a unified way.”
“We are one vision, and that is to ensure IR (Improvement Required) schools come off IR, that we don’t have any additional schools go into IR, and that we can use our use limited dollars in a way that does the least harm to impact our classrooms,” Skillern-Jones said.
She delivered the message standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow trustees, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, state Rep. Alma Allen, and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. All emphasized that the city, state, and federal government have a role to play in ensuring the success of the district, and that the district is more than one person. Continue reading →
As HISD continues to prepare a budget for the 2018-19 school year, the district anticipates a projected deficit reduction from $208 million to $115 million. This revised deficit includes several budget assumptions related to Hurricane Harvey relief and pending litigation.
When HISD first began budgeting for the 2018-2019 school year, it was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Using a worst-case scenario, the district’s financial team projected a $208 million deficit based on four dynamic factors: the Local Optional Homestead Exemption (LOHE) lawsuit, a recapture payment to the state, a potential property tax value decreaseand an anticipated student enrollment decline. District administrators crafted a revised budget outlook for the 2018-19 school year.
The district’s legal team feels confident that the state will prevail in the LOHE lawsuit. For HISD, this means a reduction in its recapture payment because the TEA will recognize half of the 20 percent local homestead exemption given to homeowners. A decision in the lawsuit could come after a hearing this spring. A win would reduce HISD’s recapture payment by $51 million.
Under the Texas Education Code, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has the authority to adjust property values. Based on the damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey and the lasting impact of the storm on our students and staff, we anticipate the commissioner will adjust property values, which in turn, would reduce our recapture payment. Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and other state leaders have publicly stated their support for this action. Click here to review a September 2017 press release from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that confirms his support for schools districts in Region IV impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which includes HISD. In addition, Commissioner Morath surveyed school districts after the hurricane to gather projections on their property tax collections post-Harvey. HISD estimates a $42 million adjustment for property value loss associated with Hurricane Harvey.
In addition, the HISD Board of Education favors a district budget performance review to be conducted by a firm that has previously worked with large school district budgets. An agenda item is anticipated for the April 2018 board meeting. If approved, an immediate audit would begin with a completion date set for the end of the year.