Richardson ISD officials speak out on "detrimental" impact of Senate's take on HB3

Superintendent Jeannie Stone spoke at a May 17 press conference on the Senate's changes to HB 3.

Superintendent Jeannie Stone spoke at a May 17 press conference on the Senate's changes to HB 3.

Recent changes made by the Senate to the House version of school finance reform could upend all progress made so far in resolving the issue of funding public schools, several area school districts claim.

In a joint letter addressed to members of the state Legislature, leaders from more than 50 Texas school districts spoke about the detriment of switching from prior year appraisal values to current year appraisal values. That figure determines the state’s share of public education funding for school districts.

“Current-year values would also eliminate the one-year safeguard that both fast-growing and declining enrollment districts desperately need to accommodate erratic enrollment fluctuations,” the letter stated.

The change affects any school district with rising property values regardless of enrollment, according to Plano ISD Chief Financial Officer Randy McDowell.

Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone was one of several district officials who spoke at a May 17 news conference about her opposition to the bill in its current form. The change in calculations would cost RISD millions and potentially result in the elimination of 50 teachers as well as equity and college-and-career readiness programs.

"I was for the first time in my 30-year career optimistic that this would be the year we would transform education in Texas," Stone said. "This miracle happened—the money was there for the first time. All items [in the bill] will truly move the needle for students in my district and the entire state. But much of that is jeopardized if we move to current year values." 

Stone described the shift as an “accounting ploy” used to benefit the state’s budget.

“They are going to give money in this hand, and then turn around and take it out of your wallet when you’re not watching,” she said.

The shift to current year values also means districts would be building “imprecise budgets” and spending funds based on values that have not been audited and certified by the state comptroller, the letter stated.

“Switching to current-year values will cause districts to be less accurate in forecasting, making the state budget process more volatile," Stone said.

The proposal was sent May 10 to a conference committee, which is tasked with resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

“We were promised transformational legislation that adds significant new money to our schools while providing property tax relief, and we hold out hope that there is still time for our legislators to deliver on that promise,” Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser said at the conference.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

Preliminary STAAR results show an increase in the number of students in Richardson and Plano ISDs not meeting expectations in math and reading. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Preliminary STAAR results show more students under-performing in Richardson, Plano ISDs

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath called the preliminary numbers “problematic” and said they underscore the “academic damage” done to the state’s school system during the pandemic.

Construction has been ramping up in neighborhoods throughout Texas to meet the demand for housing. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Experts discuss Texas' housing shortage during digital summit

Douglas Elliman Texas CEO Jacob Sudhoff said one trend from 2020 that has continued this year is tenants wanting to migrate from urban apartment developments to suburban homes.

COVID-19 had more real estate property owners consider how to bring the inside to the outside, experts said during the June 23 digital summit. (Courtesy Hub Streat)
Experts discuss COVID-19's effects on Texas real estate trends during digital summit

“The new normal is closer to the old normal than we thought it would be,” said Frank Mihalopoulos, the founder of Corinth Properties. “We lost a lot of businesses, and ... some restaurants are not even open all the hours that they had. We noticed some folks don’t even open in the evenings or on certain days for the longest time.”

Real estate investors and experts discuss the draw of Texas during the June 23 Bisnow Digital Summit. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Real estate experts discuss the draw to Texas in digital summit

Craig Hall, founder of the Hall Group, said his projects have him working with out-of-state city leaders, and it’s “refreshing” to work with Texas attitudes.

People in a meeting.
Plano ISD board approves $19.6M budget deficit for 2021-22 school year

As part of the new budget, the board approved a $7 million expense to give all eligible district employees a 2% pay raise.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

School.
Richardson ISD seeking public input on plans for COVID-19 relief funds

The funds are designated for one-time or short-term expenditures to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Superintendent Jeannie Stone said.

Janet DePuy will serve another term as mayor pro tem following a unanimous vote by Richardson City Council to re-elect her to the position. (Courtesy Janet DePuy)
Janet DePuy re-elected as mayor pro tem of Richardson City Council

She will hold the position until the next City Council election in 2023.

Cajun restaurant Storming Crab is now open in McKinney. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Storming Crab restaurant open in McKinney; Romeo's Pizza comes to Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Taps.
Richardson sports bar Thirsty Dog specializes in wings, street tacos

The sports bar offers a nightly happy hour from 4-7 p.m.

Food.
Salad and Go sets opening date for first Richardson location

Menu items are streamlined to allow for fast service, easy choices and low prices, according to a company release.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.