According to the meeting agenda, the surplus is due to the district receiving more in revenue than adopted, as well as spending less than allocated in the expenditure budget.
“We’re proposing moving that into our capital fund, and the remaining into our reserves.” Superintendent Thad Roher said. “It would be expenditures for the five buses we will be purchases and some larger projects that were not part of our priority one list.”
Roher said that final revenue numbers are still subject to change depending on certain factors, with one example being kindergarten enrollment expectations.
The board also discussed new TEA requirements for teachers who teach reading in Texas. In accordance with House Bill 3, all K-3 reading teachers will have to complete TEA Reading Academies before the fall of 2021.
The process of completing these academies are still being determined by the state, and could range from a ten day in-person program, to a three-day program both in person and online, Roher said.
Board members questioned how the Reading Academies will interact with the district’s own literacy program, and whether it might be a step backwards in instruction philosophically.
“We’re moving into the third year of our own literacy program and we have to figure out how to keep this momentum going while trying to fulfill another mandate that’s being passed down,” said Lauren Ambeau, executive director of Elementary Teaching & Learning.
Roher said the district had hoped to train its own instructors but is unable to due to the smaller size of the district. Roher added that the district has investigated partnering with another district to meet the size requirement.
“What's important is how we frame this to teachers who have invested time and energy, and taken ownership of our program,” Ambeau said. “We believe in them but we want to protect them and frame this in the most positive way without losing sight of where we're going in FISD.”