HOUSTON – June 13, 2018 –The Spring Independent School District Board of Trustees adopted a 2018-19 operating budget, at its regular meeting on June 12, that will strengthen the special education, gifted and talented, and performing and visual arts programs while providing additional resources for campuses.
“Naturally, our goal every year is to have a budget that makes it possible for us to better serve our students and staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “This year we have identified three areas – special education, gifted and talented, and performing and visual arts –as strategic priorities, and our budget supports our commitment to strengthening and expanding these programs.”
Highlighted below are key items included in the 2018-19 budget:
- One-time staff retention supplement for all employees: A payment of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for half-time employees to be included in the Nov. 23, 2018 payroll.
- Special Education investments: An additional $1 million has been budgeted for special education to support planned improvements, including staff professional development and the purchase of resource tools for special education staff to facilitate their important work on student Individual Education Plans (IEP).
- Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) resource improvement and arts integration: Nearly $500,000 has been budgeted in support of an innovative Arts Integration Plan that will launch in 2018-19 and be expanded in 2019-20.
- Gifted and Talented (GT) investments: With increased identification of gifted and talented students well underway, $124,000 has been budgeted for new GT instructional materials, planned teacher professional development and expanded GT student enrichment activities.
- Launch of Dual Language Programs: Three schools — Northgate Crossing, Hirsch and Clark Primary — will launch dual language programs this upcoming school year.
- Additional resources for campuses:
- A district-level Director of Mental Health supporting all schools;
- A Student Information Management Systems (SIMS) Clerk for every elementary and middle school campus;
- A full-time Library Media Specialist for every elementary and middle school campus;
- A Credit Recovery Specialist for our three comprehensive high schools respectively;
- Six new special education teachers — two at each of our three comprehensive high schools respectively;
- An elementary interventionist for the following 10 elementary campuses: Bammel, Booker, Clark Intermediate, Eickenroht, Heritage, Hoyland, Jenkins, Lewis, Major and Salyers; and
- A principal who will prepare for the opening of Middle School No. 8, which will be located near Northgate Crossing Elementary School and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.
The $397 million Total Operating Budget, which includes $312,405,078 in the general fund, $58,411,285 in the debt service fund and $ 26,552,535 in the child nutrition fund, will be supported by a proposed tax rate of $1.51 – the same as last year.
The operating budget is estimated to require a Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate of $1.06, while the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate of $0.45 will be used to pay the debt service requirements on outstanding bonds. A combination of the M&O and I&S tax rates brings the district’s total to $1.51 per $100 valuation.
“The tax code allows the district to increase the M&O tax rate without a rollback election for one year due to a catastrophic event, and Hurricane Harvey certainly falls within that category,” said Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks. “This one-time opportunity will generate approximately $9.7 million in additional revenue by maximizing our state aid with close to $7.2 million in additional state aid and about $2.5 million more in local tax revenue.”
The district increased the M&O tax rate by two cents to $1.06 for one year, while at the same time, decreasing the I&S debt service tax rate to $0.45, keeping the overall tax rate the same as last year.
“We will collect less in debt service but will be able to use our debt service fund balance to make up the shortfall and still remain within the reserve levels established in our debt management policy,” Westbrooks said.
The tax rate is based on preliminary certified assessments of property values within the district. Board action on the tax rate will be taken in the fall after the district receives certified tax rolls from the Harris County Appraisal District.
A public hearing was held prior to the board’s adoption of the budget to give citizens an opportunity to express their views and opinions. Summary copies of the budget are available upon request and online at www.springisd.org/transparency.