Tomball ISD trustees approve 2% salary increase, preview $157.7 million general fund budget for 2020-21 fiscal year

The Tomball ISD board of trustees convened remotely May 11 for a budget workshop to preview the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Screenshot courtesy Tomball ISD)
The Tomball ISD board of trustees convened remotely May 11 for a budget workshop to preview the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Screenshot courtesy Tomball ISD)

The Tomball ISD board of trustees convened remotely May 11 for a budget workshop to preview the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Screenshot courtesy Tomball ISD)

The Tomball ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a general pay increase of 2% on the midpoint value of the district's salary schedule, also approving TISD's salary schedule for fiscal year 2020-21. The starting salary for a teacher will also increase in FY 2020-21 from $54,000 to $56,000, according to information presented during a budget workshop May 11. The budget allots approximately $2.94 million for pay adjustments, according to district information.

Trustees took a first glance at the district's $157.7 million general fund budget May 11 with a second budget workshop planned for June before trustees vote to approve the budget at the board's June meeting. FY 2020-21 begins July 1. As such, Chief Financial Officer Jim Ross said the latest the board can adopt the budget for the upcoming year is June 19.

In addition to weathering the coronavirus pandemic, TISD plans to open new bond-funded facilities in FY 2020-21, including its new elementary school, natatorium and agricultural project center, Ross said.

"We're opening a new elementary but also other additions, such as the [agricultural] center and natatorium. They'll come along on the back of this fiscal year," Ross said. "The other side to this—the COVID-19—is the state is definitely in an economic recession."

However, the proposed budget is based on maintaining the district's property tax rate of $1.29 per $100 valuation, which was lowered from $1.34 per $100 valuation in FY 2019-20.

Other key items of the $157.7 million general fund budget include adding 154.5 employees, many of whom are designated for the district's new elementary school, Grand Oaks Elementary, opening in August, and other new facilities. The district's first full-day pre-K programming will also be offered at Grand Oaks Elementary, which is an additional cost, Ross said. The net cost for staffing Grand Oaks Elementary is approximately $2.9 million, according to information presented during the budget workshop.

"In the past I've typically projected that opening a new school would cost us about $2 million. It's gone up now; wages are higher," Ross said. "You also have added to this campus pre-K, which had not been there before, so it's an entirely additional grade level that's being added to this campus versus other elementary campuses we've opened."

New positions include 75 teachers needed for growth, 71.5 nonteaching positions—such as additional dyslexia specialists at all campuses but high schools—and funds reserved for eight teaching positions, should more staffing positions be needed later in the year, Ross said.

The district saw a year-over-year enrollment increase of 7.67% as of March 31, Ross said, which was prior to the coronavirus pandemic, so staffing may need to be adjusted if the enrollment growth is less.

"We're very clear that there could be a slowdown in the enrollment growth that we're facing, but we also are very clear that our students have lost some time in class, and if we're going to have a need as far as to reduce in the future, we can adjust that. But right now we want to bring in 75 new teachers for growth and to decrease our student-to-teacher ratio," Ross said.

The proposed FY 2020-21 general fund budget is balanced and is an increase of $10 million in revenue and $12 million in expenses, according to district information. In FY 2019-20, the district had a surplus of $2 million.

Although the district projects state and local funding to increase from FY 2019-20 to FY 2020-21, Ross said he is concerned whether the additional funding from the state will continue after this upcoming fiscal year when the Legislature reconvenes in 2021. House Bill 3 poured $11.6 billion into the school finance system when it was signed into law June 11, 2019, providing more state funding to school districts and requiring new initiatives, such as implementing full-day pre-K, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

"When we look at the revenues and expenditures of this budget, the primary concerns we have are state funding concerns as far as in the future. We've been talking about it since House Bill 3 passed [in 2019]. We only saw a 3% increase [in state funding] with House Bill 3, and that's all we're going to see in the future," Ross said.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.


Stein Mart stores, including those in the Houston region, may close as part of the company's liquidation process. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stein Mart Inc. files for bankruptcy, launches store closing process

Stein Mart Inc. announced Aug. 12 that it had voluntarily filed for bankruptcy.

The facility in Tomball is being designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects. (Rendering courtesy Tomball Economic Development Corp.)
Karbach Brewing Co.'s Chris Juergen to offer brewery, restaurant in Tomball and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

Fewer than 1,300 active cases remained in the county Aug. 12, and more than 4,800 people have recovered. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Montgomery County active COVID-19 case count continues decline; 1 death reported Aug. 12

Forty-four new cases were added Aug. 12, and more than 100 clinical recoveries were recorded.

Montgomery County commissioners met Aug. 11 for a regular meeting. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County commissioners approve use of additional $350,000 in CARES funds for COVID-19 supplies

The county also approved the purchase of fixed thermal scanner camera systems for the sheriff’s department at a cost not to exceed $500,000.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Aug. 12 a plan including best practices recommended for schools to open safely once the 2020-21 school year begins. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County judge: Opening local schools will not be safe ‘anytime in the near future’

Judge Lina Hidalgo announced today a plan including best practices recommended for schools to open safely once the 2020-21 school year begins.

According to the report, 380,174 total COVID-19 cases have been reported in children nationwide as of Aug. 6, which accounts for approximately 9.1% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
REPORT: COVID-19 cases in children increase by 90% nationwide in 1 month

As school district officials across the U.S. prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year, 179,990 new COVID-19 cases were reported in children nationwide between July 9 and Aug. 6—an increase of 90%, according to a report compiled by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Houston-area home sales jump 23% year over year in July

July also set a record high median price for single-family homes, $271,830, a 8.7% year-over-year increase.

Harris County is exploring the creation of a new official in charge of elections, which would take effect Nov. 18, after the 2020 election cycle. (Graphic by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County moves forward with creation of elections administrator office

Harris County Commissioners Court is moving forward with the creation of an elections administrator office following the approval of a study Aug. 11.

The University of Texas will host football games at Darrell K. Royal Veterans Memorial Stadium this fall after an announcement from the Big 12 Conference on Aug. 12 that the fall sports season will continue. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Big Ten and PAC-12 cancel, Big 12 announces fall sports season will roll on

The conference football season will begin Sept. 26, and fan capacity in stadiums will be up to each of the 10 member universities, according to the Big 12.

The facility in Tomball is being designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects. (Rendering courtesy Tomball Economic Development Corporation)
NEW: Karbach Brewing Co. brewmaster Chris Juergen to bring brewery, restaurant to Tomball

The facility will span 10,500 square feet and include a brewery, restaurant, and packaging and distribution space on 4.6 acres in the park with indoor and outdoor space for guests, according to the release.

With many school districts starting the school year remotely or offering remote instruction options for the 2020-21 school year, access to the internet and internet-accessible devices will be vital for educating amidst a global pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County aims to end digital divide among students through new $32.1M program

More than 120,000 mobile hot spots and 250,000 devices will be distributed to students in need across Harris County due to a program unanimously approved by Harris County Commissioners Court on Aug. 11.