It’s Teacher Appreciation Week in Fort Bend ISD – and as I begin this week’s update, I want to take a moment and share my gratitude for everything they do – in and out of the classrooms – to help our students grow.
Each day, each year, our students are learning new skills and growing as individuals… and this is because of the teachers who inspire them each day. Teachers, I want you to know that your impact on a child’s life is immeasurable, and your efforts are appreciated.
Our teachers were at the forefront of discussion during Monday’s Board meeting, as our Board received an update on staff’s budget development for 2019-20. The legislature has created much uncertainty, and both of the bills under consideration do not look promising for our financial future.
Based on the proposed funding formulas, Fort Bend ISD would not receive the windfalls that some local districts could receive – yet, as a district, we must be able to remain competitive in order to retain and attract the best teachers for our students. It is disappointing to see some lawmakers propose mandates that could amount to even more work for our teachers… like increasing the number of grade levels that take tests each year and tying compensation to the results of a STAAR test. It’s important that our lawmakers understand this is not just about money… we must also balance the workload in order to keep teachers in our classrooms.
Because of the uncertainty around the outcome of the funding formulas, on Monday night, our Business and Finance Department’s budget update included a recommendation to call a tax ratification election, or TRE, so that FBISD can fund our district’s highest priorities.
Calling a TRE election provides maximum funding flexibility for the long-term, and also allows us to finalize our budget that must be adopted in June in the midst of uncertainty. Next week, we will ask that the Board set a hearing to adopt a tax rate that includes a 13 penny increase… two of the pennies are dedicated to the 2018 bond that voters authorized in November, and the remaining 11 pennies provide funding for those important board priorities that include teacher and staff raises, Tier 3 behavior support for our elementary schools, Special Education, Pre-K, and Gifted and Talented.
I encourage you to watch the full presentation and discussion from the board meeting, so that you can remain informed about the important conversations we are having with our board. The legislative session is still underway, and we are asking everyone to stay engaged.
Our Board of Trustees remains committed to doing everything we can to support students, teachers, and the learning that takes place each day. On Monday night, we will be asking the board to approve new positions and stipends to support student learning… as well as the adoption of a local social studies standard related to the Sugar Land 95 and convict leasing. Education is at the center of everything we do.
Before I go, I want to share the unofficial results of the board elections and congratulate Jim Rice, Dave Rosenthal and Allison Drew, who received the most votes in their respective positions. Mrs. Drew will serve the remaining term of position five… and all three will be sworn in after we receive the official results from the elections office.
I am proud to serve with a Board that is advocating for our students. I look forward to our continued work together.
Thank you for joining us as we fulfill our District’s mission of inspiring and equipping all students to pursue futures beyond what they imagine.