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Board Business - Budget Workshop (June 8, 2021)

The Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees hosted a Budget Workshop on Tuesday, June 8 to review budget plans for the 2021-2022 school year. The school district’s fiscal year runs from July through June, requiring the board to approve a new budget in the coming weeks.

A video recording of the meeting is available on the district website on the Board of Trustees webpage. The agenda for the board workshop can be located here. The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 21.

Board Business summarizes regular board meetings. The presentation document from the budget workshop can be accessed here

Key Legislation

The 87th Texas Legislative Regular Session closed on May 31 with various bills impacting education and potential funding being passed. Some of those items include:

 House Bill 3261 moved the timeline for transitioning the state’s accountability testing, or STAAR test, online to 2023-2024 and the 75% cap on multiple choice was moved to 2022-2023.

House Bill 3979 identifies what must be taught in history and social studies limiting discussion of public policy or social affairs and controversial issues.

Senate Bill 168 defines requirements for conducting active threat exercises.

Senate Bill 1444 allows school districts to leave the TRS ActiveCare program and offers an open enrollment for TRS ActiveCare for medical benefits.

Senate Bill 776 requires the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to develop an adaptive sports program at middle and high school levels for disabled students.

A high-profile bill that did not pass in the legislative session included Senate Bill/House Bill 1468 which would have provdied funding for virtual students. This item may be revived in special session.   

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)

Federal grant funds are being provided to school districts in three phases through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program. The goal of the funding has been to address needs as a result of the global pandemic. The ESSER I grant funding was announced in the early stages of the pandemic and primarily paid for technology purchases and personal protective equipment. We are currently in the process of submitting for the ESSER III grant by the end of July. With guidance from the board, district leaders have identified areas to apply much of that grant. The priorities will be to address the learning loss of students during the pandemic and compensation priorities for staff.

Personnel Plans to Address Learning Loss

A priority is to hire and retain high quality teachers in Duncanville ISD. Five areas being addressed include:  

●       Hire GAP teachers and/or tutors (gaining and growing academic performance)

●       Increased signing bonuses and stipends for hard-to-fill areas

●       Extend teacher hiring schedule to 30+ years with adjustments

●       Increase bilingual teacher signing and annual stipends

●       Implement a 3-year plan for requiring ESL certifications for All ELAR Teachers (K-12)

Another area of staffing priority is ensuring students have access to school and safety supports when they arrive.

●       Increase hourly rate of bus drivers

●       Add bus driver signing bonus and retention stipends

●       Provide registered or licensed nurses at all campuses

●       Increase Registered Nurses Days to 192 Days

Employee Benefits and Payment Options

Insurance rates for next year are expected to increase by at least $32 a month. Historically, the board of trustees has increased the district’s contribution to TRS ActiveCare to avoid passing those higher costs onto employees. During the budget workshop, the board expressed an interest in doing so again this year. Over the past four years, the board has paid more than $1 million in insurance supplements. That amount equals $333 a month per individual, which is $108 more than the state requirement.

The board is considering a one-time payment or retention stipend to provide compensation for all full-time employees. A resolution will be considered by the board of trustees at the regular board meeting on Monday, June 21. The resolution will outline the board approved amount and parameters for full-time employees to receive that payment.