Conroe - Montgomery Edition | June 2020

News from Conroe & Montgomery ISDs EDUCATIONBRIEFS Montgomery ISDCFO: Budget has a ‘staffproblem,’ not a ‘stuffproblem’

BY EVA VIGH

significant portion of its staff, such as cleaning crews. When these positions were included, MISD was budgeting significantly more on staff than comparable districts, Lynn said. “[We] don’t have a stuff problem; [we] have a staff problem,” Lynn said. Board President Jim Dossey sug- gested the district reallocate funds from other programs. The proposed budget does not have any programs cut, as those decisions would need to be made by the board, Lynn said, acknowledging several parents who had spoken up at the meeting to ask the board to not cut the district’s dual-language program. “Those are decisions that we as a group would have to discuss and make some hard decisions on as we move forward,” Lynn said. He added because he arrived late in the school year, the board may not have time for those conversations before the budget is adopted.

although costs are relatively flat for next year, MISD is missing out on some revenue sources. For one, it will not receive the fast-growth allotment this year from the state, which accounts for about $2 million in additional revenue. The district also did not qualify for the new instructional facilities allot- ment it had received for the construc- tion of Lake Creek High School and Oak Hills Junior High because those funds are only available for two years, he said. That was a loss of $400,000. The other major issue is MISD lags behind competitors in its teacher hiring salaries, Lynn said, but the district is unable to afford a pay increase in 2020-21, he said. A 2% pay raise for all teachers and staff would cost the district $1.2 million, interim Superintendent Ann Dixon said. The district spends about 80% of the budget on staffing, which is similar to other districts, Lynn said. However, MISD has outsourced a

MONTGOMERY ISD Montgom- ery ISD faces two major financial challenges as it finalizes its 2020-21 budget for adoption: a potential $2.8 million shortfall and underpaid teachers and staff, officials said. “[Our] staff is starting to see for the first time some of our best and most talented educators are leaving and going to neighboring districts, ... and [we’re] not in a position financially where [we] can do anything about that,” Chief Financial Officer Kris Lynn said at June 1 budget workshop. For the 2019-20 school year, the budget will come in approximately flat, although a $4 million shortfall was originally projected. The district had a few unexpected revenue sources this year as well as unex- pected cost savings because of the COVID-19 shutdown, said Lynn, who took the position April 1. The preliminary budget shortfall for the 2020-21 academic year is projected at $2.8 million. Lynn said

WHAT DOES HOLD? NEXT YEAR The district will need to make several decisions before it adopts a final budget for fiscal year 2020-21 by the end of June, officials said. $2.8M projected budget shortfall 0 pay increases A 2% pay raise for all teachers and staff would cost the district $1.2M. SOURCE: MONTGOMERY ISD / COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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