After failed tax election, Klein ISD superintendent says district will decide on $30M in needed cuts

The Klein ISD board of trustees will examine places to trim from the 2018-19 budget this summer.

The Klein ISD board of trustees will examine places to trim from the 2018-19 budget this summer.

On Wednesday, Klein ISD Superintendent Bret Champion told district staff and families the district will spend the next two months trimming $30.2 million from the 2018-19 budget in light of the unsuccessful Tax Ratification Election on June 16.

KISD had asked voters to approve a 9 cent tax rate increase to bolster its reserves, support existing programs and provide additional security features. About 55 percent of voters opposed the measure, sending the board back to discussions on how to make necessary cuts.

If the election had been successful, it would have raised the maintenance and operations portion of the district’s tax rate from $1.04 to $1.13 per $100 valuation. The proposed increase would have brought the overall KISD tax rate to $1.52 per $100 valuation.

Although the budget shortfall is an amount equivalent to more than 500 staff positions, Champion said the board will minimize job cuts and will look to nonpayroll areas for reductions whenever possible.

Champion released the following statement:

"We are now 72 hours from the TRE being voted down by the Klein ISD community. While we are disappointed, we want you to know that this moment in Klein will not define us. We will not waiver in our shared vision of every student entering with a promise and exiting with a purpose—we will just do so moving forward with fewer resources and a slimmer budget.

We must now approach the more than 30 million dollar deficit using a framework that prioritizes ensuring that these reductions are as far away from students as possible and minimizing current employees from losing jobs. Our priority is our students and our Klein family.

The framework to reach the budget shortfall is the same plan we shared prior to the election: first, finding additional revenue and then cuts in nonpayroll areas like department and campus budgets, benefits, noncampus personnel, including further reductions in central office administration, and campus personnel. Most hiring is currently on hold as we work through the many details related to this massive budget reduction.

We will be working with our board and will communicate our plans in greater detail next week. The 2018-2019 budget will be finalized and adopted by Aug. 27.

Let me be very clear: We will always keep our students at the center of every decision because every [student] matters in Klein ISD. Family matters in Klein ISD, and we do this work joyfully because we are committed to you, to our students, to our family of employees, and to our community."
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.