||Board Approves 2012-2013 Budget
The Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees has approved a balanced $509.3 million operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year that includes a one-time pay supplement of $1,200 for all employees — but not the pay raise many had anticipated.
Trustees approved the budget and pay supplement by a unanimous 5-0 vote at a board meeting that lasted into the early morning hours of Wednesday. They left approval of the district’s employee compensation plan pending.
Trustees Enrique Escobedo and Rolando Aguilar did not attend the meeting.
The board scheduled a budget committee meeting for 4:30 p.m. June 28 to resolve remaining issues with the compensation plan, which they agreed could then be approved at the next regular board meeting. That meeting was rescheduled from July 3 to July 10 because of the Fourth of July holiday.
By law, BISD must adopt a balanced budget before July 1, the beginning of the district’s fiscal year.
The budget represents a 7.1 percent increase over the current budget of $475.3 million. It is based on an average daily attendance rate of 96.3 percent, which generates about $17 million, and calls for spending $10,310 per student on the district’s 49,395 students, Chief Financial Officer Ismael Garcia said.
A surefire way to increase revenue would be to raise the attendance rate. With 100 percent attendance, BISD would receive about $23 million, Garcia said.
As late as last week, BISD administration had indicated that it would recommend a $1,600 pay raise, or 3.25 percent, for teachers, librarians and nurses, and pay increases ranging from 2.25 percent for administrative staff to 4.25 percent for nonexempt manual trades employees.
The board and administration apparently decided a pay raise was too risky in the face of Gov. Rick Perry’s call for an additional 10 percent cut in state spending and amid reports that a similar reduction in federal spending for education is on the horizon.
The majority of funding for public education in Texas comes from state and federal sources.
Superintendent Carl A. Montoya said the budget meets the district’s overriding goal of safeguarding classroom instruction and learning.
“Our goal was to preserve jobs and preserve effective programs,” Montoya said, adding that the pay supplement was the safest approach because it does not obligate the district to recurring costs in coming years’ budgets.
The Texas Legislature begins work in January on the state budget for the next biennium. Many predict additional cuts for public education.
However, should additional funds become available, officials left open the possibility of amending the budget to allow for pay raises. District officials also noted that the $1,200 pay supplement approved Tuesday distributes money evenly across the board and gets more money into the hands of lower-paid classified employees than would have been the case with pay raises.
The board discussed paying the supplement in two payments, possibly around Thanksgiving and at the beginning of next summer.
In an executive summary accompanying the budget, Garcia noted that it includes funds to maintain all-day pre-kindergarten instruction across the district and to open three new campuses — Breeden Elementary, Brownsville Early College High School and the Brownsville Academic Center.
He said the budget also increases support for special education at all campuses, raises the compensation rate for campus tutorials to $30 per hour from $20 per hour, and funds the new STAMP college preparatory program at Veterans Memorial High School.
The budget is based on a property tax rate of $1.0923 per $100 of taxable valuation — 1.0191 per $100 of taxable value for maintenance and operation and .0732 per $100 for debt service. The rate is unchanged from this year’s budget. Adoption will come at a later meeting.
Summer Food Service
Brownsville ISD sponsors the free summer food program for children ages 0-18 at selected sites until August 17. Click here to view the schedule in English/Spanish.
Summer 21st Century Learning is Fun
A total of 14 BISD campuses served as sites for the 21st Century Summer Program. All sites featured an array of activities designed to support four key components, academics, enrichment, college awareness, and family engagement. New software programs such as “Kids College” and “Hands on Equations” supported the four components with engaging activities and peer competition. New this year was the addition of over 1,000 Kindle Fires that helped reach students in ways that traditional textbooks and lecture styles cannot. Students also participated in zumba, organized sports and other physical activities including an opportunity to swim at the district’s Aquatic Center. Take a peek at the powerpoint presentation created by Technology Teacher Julio Ledezma under the direction of Site Coordinator Juanie Garcia and the 21st Century students at Perkins Middle School to see an example of the activities and programs that occurred at all 14 BISD sites this summer. View the presentation.
A Swim Party to Support America’s Olympic Team
The Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center, located at 2901 FM 802, will host a FREE community Splash Bash on Sunday, July 29-Thursday, August 2 from 6-9 pm each evening in conjunction with the Olympic Games in London. Swimmers will be able to actually watch the Olympic Swimming Finals from the pool on a large screen and the aquatic center has been decorated with a London theme for the event. The Olympic swimming finals will begin at 7 pm each evening. In between the finals, there will be games and activities for children like bingo, scavenger hunts and trivia questions with prizes including beach balls, and posters. Children ages 12 and under must be supervised by an adult. Children ages 6 and under must have an adult with them in the water. Join the fun as we cheer on America’s swim team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. There is no better place to see all the swimming action.
Thank You: Over $22 Million in Scholarship Offers
Our 2012 Brownsville ISD graduates received over $22 million in scholarship offers from local, state, and national organizations. A special thank you to those who helped make a difference by providing scholarship funds for our graduates to continue their education.