Spring ISD leaders were able to slash the district’s anticipated $25 million fiscal year 2024-25 budget gap in half, which included about $9.8 million in "position-related reductions," a district spokesperson said in a June 5 email.

In a nutshell

By May, district leaders announced $12 million in cuts had been made, bringing the remaining FY 2024-25 shortfall to about $13 million.

According to the spokesperson's email, for the upcoming 2024-25 school year:
  • 175 full-time staff members were cut
  • No part-time staff members were cut
  • 75 special education positions were added “due to program growth
Trustees and administrators have discussed the cuts during multiple board meetings since January.

The context

Public school districts across the Greater Houston area are anticipating FY 2024-25 budget shortfalls due to a variety of factors.

On Feb. 8, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said SISD’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 funds expiring on Sept. 30
Also of note

SISD faculty, including administrators, have not received a pay increase since FY 2022-23. On Nov. 14, trustees approved raises for a group of the district’s auxiliary employees, which includes custodians, as well as a 7% raise to hourly pay ranges.

On April 4, a vote from SISD trustees to cut district administrator’s salaries by 2% failed in a split vote. The proposal to reduce the salaries of 64 administrators was proposed as an option for a total budget savings of $164,349.

According to meeting documents, trustees discussed Superintendent Lupita Hinojosa’s annual evaluation, including compensation discussions, during closed session on April 30 and again June 6. No action was taken on Hinojosa’s pay or evaluation after trustees returned to open session for either meeting.

What's next

In a split vote on May 14, SISD trustees opted to continue moving forward with a potential voter-approval tax rate election ballot initiative that would generate an additional $20.4 million annually for the district, if put on the ballot and passed by voters in November. If trustees opt to pursue this option, they will need to approve the FY 2024-25 budget by Aug. 8 and call for a tax rate election by Aug. 13.