Editor’s note: This story has been updated again to reflect the new estimated expenditure amount for the additional hires. Earlier in October, this story was been updated to reflect that the district will be hiring 38 employees.
The Katy ISD board of trustees on Monday approved hiring an additional 38 employees for the 2018-19 school year to help address the district’s growing student population.
Five of the new hires will teach in general education classrooms, while the remaining new hires will serve special education students, Kenneth Gregorski, Katy ISD’s deputy superintendent, said at the Oct. 15 meeting.
At the Nov. 5 work-study meeting, officials said the additional employees were estimated to cost about $1.6 million, up from the previously projected $1 million. At the Oct. 15 meeting, Christopher Smith, Katy ISD chief financial officer had said the expenditure would likely be paid with a roughly $1 million payment to the district from a recent audit of 2014 property values.
The average salary for Katy ISD teachers for the 2017-18 school year is $61,400, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting.
Katy ISD’s Special Education Department is requesting additional employees because the student population requiring special education services is growing faster than expected. Currently in Katy ISD, 8,498 students—or about 10.7 percent of the total student population—are receiving special education support, according to a presentation given at the Oct. 15 meeting. Five years ago, about 8.5 percent of the student population required special education support.
In January, the department estimated that about 5,481 special education students would be enrolled in Katy ISD’s general education setting for the 2018-19 school year, per the Oct. 15 presentation. However, in September that number was actually 6,014 students—about 500 students over the projection—and these numbers are expected to grow in the coming years.
Community Impact Newspaper has reached out for more information about how many of the new employees will be full-time, how many people Katy ISD currently employs as well as how many students are expected to need special education services for the next school year. A representative was not able to answer these questions.
There are currently 79,876 students enrolled in Katy ISD as of Oct. 22, the district announced at the Monday meeting. By December, the district expects to have 80,000 students.
Other items approved
In addition to approving the hiring of 39 new employees, the board also voted to:
- Accept contracts totaling about $1.6 million to replace the HVAC chillers and associated equipment at three schools: McDonald Junior High, Bear Creek Elementary and Stephens Elementary schools. These new air conditioning units will be paid for using 2017 bond funds, and installing the equipment is expected to be completed by February.
- Accept amendments to contracts with Houston-based Anslow Bryant Construction Ltd. for the additions and renovations to the Katy High School Career and Technical Education, athletics facilities and Fielder Elementary School.
- Join the Central Texas Purchasing Alliance and Purchasing Cooperative of America to achieve cost savings through cooperative purchasing agreements.
The next board meetings will be held Nov. 5, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.