Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Message from SBISD Board of Trustees - April 15, 2024

Dear SBISD Families, Staff and Community Members,

Over the past weeks, we have received questions from our community about budget increases in payroll costs from 2019-2024. We have written this communication to provide our community with accurate information directly from the Board of Trustees.

The Board believes it is very important to educate our community about the district’s budget and financial information. That’s why in Fall 2022 we created a School Finance Advocacy Team (SFAT), made up of 70 community members, including our Trustees. Additionally, we invited our legislative delegation and those running for office to participate on this committee.  The SFAT armed representatives from our community with a detailed understanding of our budget and public school funding so they could advocate effectively on behalf of our district.

We learned in the last legislative session how important it is that our community and our elected officials have correct SBISD budget information. Public school finance is an ongoing advocacy priority, and it is imperative that our engaged community has the information necessary to confidently tell our story to Austin.

Our fight for funding will continue next year when the 89th Legislative Session begins in January.

When misleading, inaccurate facts are stated, it impedes our advocacy efforts and, ultimately, hurts the children in SBISD.  We ask that you please take the time to educate yourself on the budget facts we've laid out below.

How much have payroll costs gone up from 2019 to present and why?

First, when looking at our budget documents, make sure to compare like items. Start with our 2019 audited financials. Presently, we do not have 2024 audited financials as our fiscal year is not over. The projected fiscal 2024 budget is simply a snapshot in time. For accuracy, compare our 2019 audited financials to our 2023 audited financials.  Here’s what you will learn:

Information about SBISD Payroll Cost Increases since 2019

payroll chart

Let’s talk about the facts.

Audited financial statements are actual results. The district’s budget is the projection of annual revenues and expenditures at a specific point in time. It would be imprudent to compare audited results with a budget projection. 

The difference between the FY 2019 audited payroll expenditures and the FY2024 BUDGETED payroll expenditures is $71.6 million. 

Between 2019-2023, SBISD’s total payroll costs based on audited financial statements have increased by $45.6 million, or 17.9% vs 19% inflation. 

What’s happened since 2019?

In Spring 2019, House Bill 3 (HB3) passed during the 86th Regular Legislative Session and was signed into law. SBISD received $24.5 million in new funding and was required under HB3 to spend a significant amount of this funding to increase salaries for the FY2020 school year. Those salary increases have had to remain in our budget every year. SBISD employees did not receive a raise in the 2023-24 budget. 

Inflation since then has been over 19%. 

SBISD added personnel to provide direct student services to address Covid learning loss. These include, but are not limited to, special education, dyslexia, instructional specialists, and nurses. 

SBISD added personnel for safety and security. House Bill 3 (HB3) and other legislation passed by the 88th Legislature added many unfunded mandates. As SBISD prioritizes the safety of our students and staff, we are hardening our facilities and hiring police officers. 

The district’s share of insurance and benefits costs have increased by $8.7 million (22.7%) between 2019-2023 based on audited financial statements. 

What has been the impact of these investments?

SBISD’s academic results have improved dramatically. 

SBISD’s elementary and middle school student performance on the 2023 STAAR exam meets or exceeds the State and Region in 14 of 15 elementary and middle school categories. 

By comparison, in 2019, SBISD’s elementary and middle school student performance on 2019 STAAR exams was below the State and Region in 15 of 17 grades/subjects, and below the Region in ALL 17. (TAPR)

Chris Earnest
President, Board of Trustees

Lisa Alpe
Vice President, Board of Trustees