School Finance Update from Superintendent Klussmann

This week, Superintendent Duncan Klussmann shared the following update with all members of the Spring Branch ISD Community:

Dear Members of the SBISD Family:

Several weeks ago, I emailed you with a legislative update and mentioned that I would follow-up with information on school finance. This legislative session, the direction of school finance changed so frequently that every time I was set to hit the “send” button, new information would come in making my email obsolete. With the close of the session, we now have a better picture.
There are two factors we pay attention to regarding school finance. The first is the total increase in funding from the previous two years and the second factor is how lawmakers decide to distribute the funding to 1000+ school districts.

Regarding the first factor, lawmakers have passed an increase in public education funding totaling roughly $3.9 billion. This is a positive development; however, when compared to the roughly $5.2 billion removed from public education two years ago, it is below the funding levels from the previous biennium.

The second factor is the most critical element for SBISD. The trend over the past several legislative sessions has been to penalize school districts based on their property wealth levels. The financial models considered early in this legislative session were fairly disastrous for Spring Branch. However, the final models improved the picture. The good news is that SBISD will receive just over $12 million in additional funding for the two-year period. The bad news is that when compared on a percentage basis, surrounding school districts will receive greater amounts.

How does this additional funding affect our budget for next year? The increased funding will allow us to increase salaries and maintain staffing allocations. On the downside, the increased funding is not enough to replace all the reductions from two years ago. Keep in mind that we lost roughly $37 million over the last two years. The additional $12 million for the next two years only replaces a third of the amount of funding we lost. However, I am confident that with the additional funding and prudent financial decisions made by our Board of Trustees, we will be able to maintain our competitiveness over the next two years.

The Board of Trustees will continue the budget process with a goal to hold its second Public Hearing on the budget at the June Regular Board Meeting. We will continue to provide updates on the legislative session as we analyze specific bills that are signed by the Governor.

I hope your last week is going well. I plan to send out an end-of-year message on Wednesday.

Thank you for all you do for the kids of Spring Branch!


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