Carroll ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution that outlined a formal request to the Texas Education Agency to raise the district’s pre-K tuition for the 2024-25 school year above the current state approved rate at a special meeting Feb. 12.

The district receives half-day Average Daily Attendance funding for its pre-K program despite that the TEA mandates districts statewide to offer full-day programs for eligible students at least 4 years old, according to TEA documents. The agency, which determines tuition rates for school district’s pre-K programs, has also decreased the amount CISD can charge for full-day tuition from $6,716 in the 2017-18 school year to its current rate of $5,780.

The details

When the district reached out to the agency last year for an explanation of the yearly decreases, it was met with "vague responses" and was unable to attain formulas that justify the current tuition rate, said Stacie Bonner, executive director of special programs, at a Feb. 5 meeting.

“There doesn't appear to be anything that we can then use to calculate to make estimates on what tuition will look like next year,” Bonner said. “There’s a potential that number could decrease again.”

The state had also denied the district’s request to increase the pre-K tuition year over year, board President Cameron Bryan said.

More details

Leading up to the Feb. 12 meeting, Bryan spoke with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath seeking an explanation for the situation and bringing forward the request for the tuition increase, Bryan said. At the meeting Bryan read aloud an email sent to the community last weekend which said that the conversation with Morath yielded the agency’s approval of the district’s request.

“Sometimes it's better to just pick up the phone and call somebody,” he said.

When the issue was brought to Morath’s attention, Morath told the district that they had been misinformed and received wrong direction, board Vice President Andrew Yeager said. The decision to increase the tuition marks an opportunity to not only preserve the district’s program, but to also grow it, he said.

Next steps

The board plans to attach the approved resolution along with the email detailing Bryan’s conversation with Morath in its request to the TEA for a tuition increase. The district has yet to finalize a tuition price following the increase but will determine one in the coming days.

“We are just trying to get right and just funding for this great school district,” Yeager said. “That means we have to flip over some tables once in a while, and we are willing to do that.”

At the end of the Feb. 12 meeting, the board also tabled discussions regarding revisions to the pre-K continuum and plans to broach the matter at a future special meeting and work session before making a decision.