Katy ISD needs to hire several hundred more teachers and support staff to keep up with the district's growing student population.
That is according to a presentation from district chief financial officer Chris Smith during the board of trustees's March 18 work-study meeting. He said enrollment projections for the 2019-20 school year show a 4.2 percent year-over-year increase in enrollment, or about 3,308 students, to 82,789 students.
To maintain proper student-teacher ratios, the district's financial department is budgeting for an additional 320 teachers and 239 staff positions for the 2019-20 school year, Smith said. Last year, the district hired 162 teachers and 120 staff, he added.
He explained the 2019-20 requested staffing numbers are higher than last year because KISD is opening an elementary and junior high school. Last year, the district opened one elementary school.
In a separate presentation to the board, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Brian Schuss said district administration recommends the board approves hiring an additional 382.26 campus staffing units and 153 units for campus support and auxiliary personnel based off an expected enrollment growth of 2,800 students year-over-year for the 2019-20 school year.
The board will vote on this recommendation at its next meeting on March 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Education Support Complex, 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy.
Special education growth
Immediately following Schuss' presentation, special education department Executive Director Brian Malechuk and special education compliance director Gwen Coffey provided supplementary information regarding how their department is growing faster than usual.
As of October, the number of students in special education at KISD was 8,647, according to the presentation. By the end of the 2018-19 school year, the department projects that there will 10,500 students enrolled in special education services, or a 21 percent year-over-year increase.
Over the past 5 years, that increase has ranged between 6-8 percent, per the presentation.
A few reasons account for this rapid growth in the department, Coffey said. The Texas Education Agency released new guidance on identifying children who may need special education and the types of services that should be provided, she said. Other reasons include new referrals and move ins.
To accommodate this student growth, the special education department is asking for an additional 64 teachers and 83 paraprofessionals for the 2019-20 school year, per the presentation. These numbers are reflected in Schuss’ and Smith’s presentation regarding hiring for the 2019-20 school year.