After voicing concerns in early October, Spring ISD trustees unanimously voted to reduce committed fund balance moneys by $4.5 million Oct. 17 in light of the district’s $25.4 million budget deficit.

The gist

In a 6-0 vote—with Assistant Secretary Rhonda Newhouse absent—trustees approved the district’s proposal to reduce $5 million fund balance committed for “strategic compensation” to $500,000.

Trustees expressed the desire that the committed funds be used to create a reward program for SISD employees other than classroom teachers since the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment program granted $4.5 million in bonuses to SISD classroom teachers before the start of the 2023-24 school year.
  • The highest-earning SISD teacher received $29,000, and multiple teachers earned more than $20,000 through the state’s TIA program this year, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said Oct. 5.
“A lot of times teachers who are successful become coaches, they become interventionists,” trustee Natasha McDaniel said. “They're still touching classrooms. ... Maybe there's a smaller allotment or something to where we can still incentivize all of those other positions, because they deserve it.”

About 348 teachers received a combined $1.8 million in bonuses through the district’s Spring Rewards teacher incentive program, while 138 of these teachers did not qualify for the TIA program, Westbrooks said Oct. 17.

“The ... teacher incentive allotment program doesn't allow us to write in for anyone other than a teacher to qualify,” Westbrooks said.


SISD initially considered reducing the committed funds Oct. 5; however, trustees opted to delay the decision.

Multiple trustees raised concerns about the district’s recommendation to reduce the committed funds to $0 at the Oct. 5 meeting, but expressed support for the altered recommendation of a $4.5 million reduction Oct. 17.

With declining enrollment, low average daily attendance and the budget deficit, Westbrooks said SISD cannot afford to continue to commit $5 million annually to the Spring Rewards program.

The background

In June 2019, SISD’s board of trustees voted to commit $5 million from the district’s fund balance to the Spring Rewards program, as previously reported by Community Impact.

Also in 2019, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3, which created the TIA. According to the program’s website, TIA allows successful teachers to earn extra money based on criteria set by their school district.

In case you missed it

In June, trustees voted to fill a projected $25.4 million funding gap in SISD’s general fund for the fiscal year 2023-24 budget using federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund moneys.