Houston ISD board to consider 2012-2013 budget
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education held a meeting June 21 to consider a $1.58 billion budget to address the loss of $47.1 million in state funding.
Houston ISD schools lost more than $125.1 million over a two-year period after Texas legislature cut public education funding by $5.4 billion statewide. Due to these cuts, Houston ISD now receives 79 percent of its revenue from local tax dollars.
The proposed budget would allow for staff pay raises without increasing the property tax rate. Houston ISD employees would earn increases ranging from 1.75 to 2.25 percent.
Non-teaching staff working for the district have not received a pay raise since the 2009-2010 school year. Some teachers received a raise in the 2010-2011 year. No pay increases were provided in 2011-2012.
In the coming year superintendent Terry Grier wants to change this in order to remain competitive with other Houston-area school districts.
Under the new budget, all teachers would earn a two percent pay increase; principals, assistant principals and deans would receive a two percent increase; school bus operators, food service employees and salaried departmental employees would earn a 2.25 percent increase; substitute teachers and other hourly employees would receive a 2.25 percent increase; and professional employees and administrators would earn a 1.75 increase.
The district’s savings account currently holds approximately $257 million, but the district is anticipating a revenue shortfall in the coming year caused by the cut in state funding.
About $17 million of that shortfall will be covered by reducing the amount of general fund money normally transferred to the district’s debt service fund, but this reduction will not be available in the future.
The following spending decreases will take effect in the coming year:
Seven million dollars will be reduced from employee health and unemployment insurance costs; $5.5 million less will be spent on bilingual and special education programs; $5 million less will be spent on ASPIRE performance awards; and $2.5 million will be cut from non-campus departments through departmental consolidations and layoffs.
Grier plans to recommend that the school district keep the current tax rate, which is the lowest of any school district in Harris County.
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