State reduces funding to Katy ISD due to severance payment to former Superintendent Lance Hindt

Katy ISD former Superintendent Lance Hindt
Katy ISD former Superintendent Lance Hindt announced he would resign effective Jan. 1, 2019, at a special board meeting May 10, 2018. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Katy ISD former Superintendent Lance Hindt announced he would resign effective Jan. 1, 2019, at a special board meeting May 10, 2018. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:37 p.m. to provide additional information that Katy ISD provided after the article published at 1:12 p.m.

The Texas Education Agency notified Katy ISD that it will reduce the district’s state funding by $513,754.56.

This is according to a May 31, 2019, letter from the TEA to the district that Community Impact Newspaper obtained March 3. The agency decreased the state funding because of the severance payment the district issued to former Superintendent Lance Hindt, whose resignation was effective Jan. 1, 2019.

A copy of the letter—provided by TEA—is available at the end of the article.

A district cannot pay a superintendent severance of more than one year's salary and benefits under the terminated contract or else the TEA commissioner will reduce the district's funds, according to the Texas Education Code and Texas Administration Code.


Hindt’s base salary for the 2018-19 school year was $394,587, according to the TEA. Previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting states KISD paid Hindt more than $750,000 in a severance package. Community Impact Newspaper has reached out to the TEA for a copy of the superintendent payment disclosure form KISD submitted, but the request was not immediately fulfilled.

Maria Dipetta, KISD's media relations and multimedia manager, said in an email that Hindt's contract included a two-year separation clause. The district informed the TEA in 2018 about the severance payment, and the TEA, subsequently informed KISD that state funding would be reduced.

“In 2018 the Katy ISD board and former superintendent made a decision to separate,” Dipetta said. “As required by the former superintendent’s contract, a separation payment was paid.”

According to the TEA website about superintendent severance packages, state funding reductions occur in the school year following the school year incurring the first severance payment. Community Impact Newspaper has reached out to the TEA to confirm which fiscal year the funding reduction will occur.

DiPetta said KISD expected the funds to be reduced for the 2018-19 budget year—the same year Hindt resigned—and there has been no funding reduction for the 2019-20 school year. She added that the district developed a balanced budget for the 2018-19 school year in anticipation of the reduced funds and no district programs lost funding during that school year.

At $245.8 million, state funding accounted for 34.4% of KISD’s 2018-19 general fund budget, according to the latest Public Education Information Management System District Financial Budget Reports on the TEA’s website. Due to House Bill 3—the school finance reform bill passed during the 86th Texas legislative session—the district expected to receive additional funding from the state for the 2019-20 school budget, KISD Chief Financial Officer Christoper J. Smith said in 2019.

Hindt announced his resignation as KISD superintendent in May 2018 after community members accused him of bullying in his teenage years and plagiarizing his doctorate dissertation. Hindt had served as KISD superintendent since August 2016.

Ken Gregorski was appointed as KISD’s new superintendent in January 2019. After a year on the job, the board of trustees increased Gregorski’s annual base salary from $300,000 to $324,000.
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. She covers education, transportation, local government, business and development in the Katy area.


MOST RECENT

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.

Traditionally held in the spring, this year’s Wild West Brewfest will be in November at Katy Mills Mall. (Courtesy Pexels)
Wild West Brewfest returning to Katy in November

The Wild West Brewfest, an event featuring more than 100 brewers from across the country and more than 500 beers, will return to Katy this November.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

Ronnie Edwards (Courtesy Katy ISD)
Katy ISD announces new assistant superintendent

Katy ISD has tapped Ronnie Edwards as the District’s new assistant superintendent for school leadership and support.

Fort Bend Liquor Store opened its doors at 1708 Spring Green Blvd., Ste. 190, Katy, in May. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend Liquor Store now open in Katy

Fort Bend Liquor Store offers a variety of wine, beer and spirits, with a focus on fine wines at multiple price points.

Russ Poppe, the Harris County Flood Control District executive director, will officially step down July 2 after nearly fifteen years in the position. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
Executive Director Russ Poppe announces resignation from Harris County Flood Control District

Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe announced his resignation June 11.

Fort Bend County Public Transportation has rebranded to Fort Bend Transit and unveiled a new logo, a new color scheme, and new messaging that showcases local and regional transportation services. (Courtesy Fort Bend Transit)
Fort Bend County Public Transportation rebrands to Fort Bend Transit

While the name and image have changed, the existing public transit services will continue to operate as an affordable, efficient and safe transportation option in Fort Bend County.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

League City's Helen Hall Library History Club hosted an event related to Juneteenth on June 7. The holiday honors Union Gen. Gordon Granger coming to Galveston in 1865 to announce the liberation of enslaved people in Texas. (Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
Celebrate Juneteenth in Galveston with a movie screening, parade and more on June 17, 19

The Juneteenth Legacy Project, which aims to recontextualize the day and properly communicate its story and relevance, is hosting or advertising numerous events over the course of the holiday weekend.