Spring ISD approves $426M budget, including funds for full day pre-K, ninth-grade centers

The general fund includes $1.8 million to support the district's three ninth-grade centers, which are slated to open this fall to assist with social distancing; nearly $2.1 million to fund the expansion of full-day pre-K across each of the district's 25 elementary campuses; and $9.14 million to cover the previously approved 2.5% general pay increase for all staff as well as to boost the district's starting teacher salary to $56,500. (Courtesy Fotolia)
The general fund includes $1.8 million to support the district's three ninth-grade centers, which are slated to open this fall to assist with social distancing; nearly $2.1 million to fund the expansion of full-day pre-K across each of the district's 25 elementary campuses; and $9.14 million to cover the previously approved 2.5% general pay increase for all staff as well as to boost the district's starting teacher salary to $56,500. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The general fund includes $1.8 million to support the district's three ninth-grade centers, which are slated to open this fall to assist with social distancing; nearly $2.1 million to fund the expansion of full-day pre-K across each of the district's 25 elementary campuses; and $9.14 million to cover the previously approved 2.5% general pay increase for all staff as well as to boost the district's starting teacher salary to $56,500. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The Spring ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a nearly $426.2 million operating budget for the 2020-21 school year during a special called meeting June 23.

Up from the 2019-20 school year budget of nearly $324.7 million, the newly adopted budget includes a general fund of nearly $337 million, a debt service fund of nearly $59.7 million, $29.5 million for child nutrition and a deficit of $7.1 million.

According to the budget presentation, the general fund includes $1.8 million to support the district's three ninth-grade centers, which are slated to open this fall to assist with social distancing; nearly $2.1 million to fund the expansion of full-day pre-K across each of the district's 25 elementary campuses; and $9.14 million to cover the previously approved 2.5% general pay increase for all staff as well as to boost the district's starting teacher salary to $56,500.

"I want to thank our trustees for their leadership and commitment to supporting our staff as we work to stay competitive during a tough budget environment," SISD Superintendent Rodney Watson said in a statement. "In approving these raises, our trustees reiterated their support for ensuring equity for our staff relative to salaries across the region."

The budget is based on a relatively flat projected enrollment of 35,443, an average daily attendance of 32,266, an estimated districtwide property value of nearly $15.5 million and a proposed tax rate of $1.3877 per $100 valuation, down from the district's current property tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation. However, a tax rate will not formally be approved until later this year.


"We've been challenged quite a bit throughout this budget process, throughout this entire spring semester—changes everywhere you turn," SISD Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said during the meeting. "Even though it's a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, we feel as though we have a good team, we've done a lot of great work and we're meeting the challenge every time it comes at us."

The board will reconvene at another special called meeting June 30 at 7 p.m. to further discuss plans for the 2020-21 school year as they relate to guidance released by the Texas Education Agency on June 23.

Click
here to see how SISD budget plans compare with other school districts in the Greater Houston area.
By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


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