Fort Bend ISD officials announced there is more room to scale back on expenditures for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget as well as the timeline for calling a $1.2 billion bond during the Jan. 23 board of trustees meeting.

Reducing the budget

Following voters’ rejection of a tax rate increase in the November election, the district is taking steps to overcome an anticipated $47 million budget shortfall by fiscal year 2024-25.

District officials said they has found ways to reduce the budget by an additional $785,000, bringing the total savings to $3.05 million. Officials still anticipate meeting the target of $23 million in reductions by March. The money-saving steps include:
  • discontinuing administration of the PSAT at the ninth grade level;
  • conducting Ren360 only on targeted student groups;
  • moving English Language Learners testing to four sites throughout the district;
  • insourcing custodial services from the Reese center;
  • discontinuing the ropes course; and
  • software reductions.
Fort Bend ISD will need to cut another $24 million for FY 2024-25 to maintain its budget reserve.

Developing the bond

In addition to cutting costs, Fort Bend ISD is also considering a bond election in May to provide funds for a variety of improvements to facilities and services across the district. The majority of the estimated $1.214 billion bond is earmarked for improvements to existing facilities.

Deputy Superintendent Steve Bassett presented an initial summary of the capital plan for bond funds. Over $615 million is allocated to address facility deficiencies and life cycle needs, including improvements to roofs, air conditioning, flooring, furniture, windows and foundations. Another $463 million is set aside for major projects, including a $223 million rebuild of Clements High School, where the foundation has shifted.

The district will survey voters by early February on whether they are tolerant of the bond’s size, a 0.5 cent versus a one cent tax rate increase and other small projects. On Feb. 13, the board of trustees will decide whether to call the bond election, which would be held during the 2023 general election on May 6.