A vote from Spring ISD’s board of trustees to cut district administrator’s salaries by 2% failed April 4 as the district faces an estimated $25 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2024-25.

What happened

The proposal to reduce the salaries of 64 administrator positions for a total budget savings of $164,349 was favored by Secretary Kelly P. Hodges and voted down by Vice President Winford Adams Jr. and trustees Deborah Jensen and Carmen Correa. President Justine Durant and trustee Natasha McDaniel abstained from voting, and Assistant Secretary Rhonda Newhouse was absent from the meeting.

“[I am] not in favor of not reducing salaries of central staff, and I will not be voting on a budget that does not include that,” Hodges said.

Adams expressed uncertainty that “an across-the-board reduction” would benefit the district without a higher cost-savings.

Put in perspective

SISD trustees considered administrator salary cuts for positions considered “directors and above” between 2%-5% for a total savings of up to $410,872 before taking their vote, according to April 4 meeting presentation materials.

All SISD staff, including administrators, have not received a pay increase since FY 2022-23, and a study conducted earlier this year by the Texas Association of School Boards also found SISD’s administrators earn pay within normal market range, according to April 4 meeting presentation materials.

The full story

SISD leaders are hoping to make $12 million in budget cuts for FY 2024-25, as previously reported by Community Impact. Since January, trustees have considered multiple options to trim the district’s budget. Money-saving initiatives that have been passed include:
  • On March 19, trustees voted to adjust teacher-to-student ratios and schools’ master schedules beginning in the 2024-25 school year at the district’s middle and high schools for an estimated savings of $2.8 million.
Initiatives that have been discussed but not yet voted on or are in preliminary stages include:
  • A possible voter-approval tax rate election ballot initiative for November
  • Saving on staffing costs through eliminating positions and shifting qualified staff to other available positions, when possible
The context

As previously reported by Community Impact, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said the district’s projected budget shortfall is being caused by:
  • High rates of inflation
  • Raises the district awarded employees in previous fiscal years
  • Lowered rates of student enrollment and average daily attendance caused by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund federal monies expiring Sept. 30, 2024
SISD officials have also attributed their funding woes to a lack of funding dedicated to public schools during the 88th legislative session.