PISD Oks budget, to meet in August

In News by Reporter News

With several key decisions for the coming year behind it, the Pearland school board will convene in August, kicking off a new fiscal year with a boost in employee pay.

After hammering out teacher and staff raises that add up to an estimated $1.1 million impact on the district, Trustees in June approved the 2015-16 budget supported by the local tax rate of $1.4157 per $100 valuation. Since both the budget and pay raises were approved at the same meeting, the funds for additional salaries are to be presented as a budget amendment at the August meeting. A better estimate of revenues also will be available in August, Superintendent John Kelly said, adding those numbers will likely be favorable.

The issues of pay increases drew the most discussion and concern, but board members were more concerned that PISD will lose good teachers to other districts because of salary.

“We consistently pay less than surrounding districts,” Trustee Rebecca Decker pointed out. “Our raises are consistently less than our surrounding districts. Typically over the years, we either match or we’re less.”

Though it must remain competitive with surrounding districts, Pearland ISD is at a disadvantage — since it receives less funding per student than those same districts, largely because of its proportion of economically disadvantaged students.

Dr. Kelly points out that this has been a years-long challenge, and one that remains the focus of a pending lawsuit challenging the state’s funding formula.

“Of the 53 Houston area districts, we were in 38th place in terms of revenue per student,” he told the board. “This has been an ongoing argument.”

The school board usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month. The next scheduled regular meeting of the board is Tuesday, Aug. 11.

These public meetings are held at the Education Support Center, 1928 N. Main. Individuals are invited to speak before the board during the citizen’s participation portion of the meeting, though action cannot be taken on any item unless it is on the published agenda. Attendees may sign up for citizen’s participation from 4 – 6:10 p.m.

Future meetings also are scheduled for Sept. 8, Oct. 13 and Nov. 10 in 2015.

Visit www.pearlandisd.org for agendas and more information.

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