Plans to create a Katy ISD virtual high school are moving forward after a vote from district leaders on May 17, pending funding from the state.

The KISD board of trustees voted unanimously on May 17 to authorize the superintendent and administration to create a KISD virtual high school campus for the 2021-22 academic school year, if funding is approved by the Texas State Legislature. The KISD virtual high school would be tuition-free and considered a full-time stand-alone virtual high school campus.

Superintendent Ken Gregorski said although the district has the framework to run a successful virtual school for students, and some parents in April expressed interest in having an online option for their kids, concerns remain about how such a school would be funded if money is not provided by the state.

“I’m concerned about building something and not having permanent funding for that,” he said.

Gregorski said he’s been keeping an eye on bills related to funding for virtual schooling in the current legislative session, which ends May 31, but none of them have made it to the finish line. Without legislative action to form a virtual school, he said he is worried about funding the school in the long-term.

“I would feel much more comfortable building a virtual school having something permanently in law that says they have to fund it, and here's how they fund it, and here are the rules to get that funding, than something that's unknown,” he said.

Trustee Rebecca Fox, who took the oath of office during the meeting, replacing outgoing Trustee Susan Gesoff, said she hopes the state will provide funding to help districts offer a virtual option.

Additionally, Fox said she would be interested to see if KISD would find cost savings down the road running a virtual high school, since it wouldn’t require all of the same resources needed for an in-person campus.

“You don't have to have bathrooms or cafeterias or paper towels or electricity,” she said. “There could be some savings here.”

KISD staff members will continue watching to see if any bills pass in the final few weeks of the legislative session, Gregorski said.