School safety, staff retention and improving the quality of instruction were among the initiatives discussed by Humble ISD trustees during the board’s first workshop for the district’s 2023-24 budget.

During the board’s April 25 budget workshop, HISD Chief Financial Officer Billy Beattie stressed the proposals presented during the meeting were subject to change as the district finalizes its recommendations before trustees adopt the budget in June.

Quote of note: “There’s a lot of uncertainty because [Texas lawmakers are] in a legislative year,” Beattie said. “Right now, there are a lot of pending bills that amount to dollars for us, but we don’t know which ones are going to make it through.”

Budget highlights: Beattie highlighted several initiatives in the district’s preliminary 2023-24 budget, including:
  • 3%-on-average raises for all staff members that would raise starting teachers’ salaries to $63,700;
  • The continued pay of $1,000 stipends to all non-House Bill 3 staff members;
  • Additional special education staff, paraprofessionals and dyslexia teachers;
  • A new wellness school aimed at promoting mental health; and
  • A new program that combines classroom instruction with virtual reality technology.
Projected revenue: According to Beattie, the district stands to gain anywhere between $18.5 million-$35.5 million in additional revenue over last year’s roughly $589.6 million budget, which included about $589.7 million in revenue.

Beattie said the amount of additional revenue gained will be dependent on any bills state lawmakers approve during this year's legislative session.

Safety initiatives: Beattie noted several items in the preliminary budget are aimed at providing additional safety on campuses, including:
  • The purchase of flock cameras, which will allow officials to scan license plates on campus to assess previous criminal activity associated with the vehicle;
  • Bullet-proof vests and shields for safety officers; and
  • Various safety enhancements at campuses.
Looking forward: Beattie said the district’s next budget workshop will be held in May. Trustees will consider formally adopting the district’s 2023-24 budget in June.