Dear Spring Branch ISD Families, Staff and Community Members,
On April 12 of this year, we shared a very difficult message about significant budget cuts and program changes we would have to make, beginning with the 2024-25 school year, if the 88th Legislature failed to increase funding for Texas public schools to meet inflationary pressures, despite having the largest state budget surplus in history.
As you may know, Governor Abbott called a third special session that has been underway since October 9. While the Governor’s call for the special session included vouchers as a priority, funding for public education was not included as a topic for the session.
Legislation put forth in the special session remains wholly insufficient to address the needs of our district and districts across the state. And, for any public school funding to be considered, Governor Abbott would have to agree to add public school funding to his call. He has stated that he will not address public education until a voucher bill is passed.
Thus, we are now forced to consider the difficult choices we told you in April were on the horizon for the upcoming school year. Decisions need to be made now to properly plan should the legislature fail (again) to adequately address public education funding.
At our Monday, October 23 Regular Meeting, the Board of Trustees will discuss the first phase of considerations to address the district’s budget deficit. No action will be taken at this meeting, with potential action at a future meeting.
With a combined annual impact of $4-5 million, the initial considerations to be discussed include:
- School Closure
- Close Treasure Forest Elementary and relocate students to Housman and Ridgecrest elementaries to maximize facility usage, staffing and programs.
- Pre-K Programming
- Discontinue the lease for the Panda Path School for Early Learning and adjust boundaries for students to attend Lion Lane and open 1-2 Pre-K classrooms at Hollibrook Elementary.
- Balance enrollment across the district at Pre-K Schools for Early Learning.
- Bond Programs
- Pause the four remaining elementary school replacement projects (Sherwood, Spring Shadows, Thornwood and Terrace elementaries) to provide the district time to conduct an operations cost review.
- High School Student-Teacher Ratios
- Increase the high school staffing ratio.
- High School Schedule
- Align all high schools on a seven-period schedule to maximize efficiency of staffing, while also enabling a 4th teaching block at the Guthrie Center to expand CTE opportunities for students.
- Pre-K Tuition Increase
- Increase tuition for Pre-K to $778/month ($7,002/year), maintaining the employee rate at $595/month ($5,355/year). This rate remains competitive in the area and below the Texas Education Agency maximum permitted rate.
We wish we were not facing these measures, but our state leaders have left us no choice. We will continue the fight to #fullyfundSBISD – your children’s futures and our beloved school district’s future remain our bottom line.
Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools