Leander ISD is in the process of creating its 2019-20 budget.
During an April 4 meeting, school board members discussed potential new programs and other budget considerations for the upcoming academic year.
LISD Chief Financial Officer Lucas Janda provided an overview of the implications of a school finance reform bill, House Bill 3, filed by Public Education Chariman state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, during the current Texas legislative session.
He said under the bill, LISD could avoid paying into the recapture system in the upcoming year. Under Chapter 41 of Texas Education Code, otherwise known as the “Robin Hood” or recapture system, Texas schools classified as property-wealthy must share property tax revenue with property-poor districts.
“We have talked now for the last two years about this coming year is going to be the year we finally enter recapture,” Janda said.
Janda said that as property value—and thus property taxes—have grown within the district over the last several years, the number of students has grown at a slower pace, increasing the funds available per student. This is why LISD was previously slated to begin paying into the state recapture system in the 2019-20 academic year. HB 3 could change that by increasing the basic allotment of funding per student.
“What it could mean, under House Bill 3, is that we avoid recapture for this upcoming biennium,” Janda said. “So that’s a critical positive for our district. The unfortunate aspect is when we look at House Bill 3 … we’re not seeing very meaningful money come in as a result of House Bill 3.”
In addition to the results of the Legislature, some key assumptions about district finances will be considered when forming the budget. For example, the budget will account for a 2% pay increase and the startup costs of Danielson Middle School, according to district documents.
Trustees also discussed potential new programs to be implemented at LISD schools, such as an orchestra program; new science, technology, engineering and mathematics electives for middle-schoolers; and researching magnet school opportunities.
LISD’s Program Advisory Committee developed the recommendations for future program expansions and additions within the district. These possibilities and more will be taken into account as the board develops its budget.
“[The] purpose of all of this is for you to have some information for you to consider during the budget process this spring, so that if there are things that you would like to see implemented in the future in LISD that you have an idea of what the PAC is recommending and what budget implications might be there for that,” LISD Chief of Staff Matt Smith said.
You can read about the recommendations below.