2009 FBISD Tax Hearing (On YouTube)

CLICK HERE FOR THE 2009 FBISD CONTROVERSIAL TAX HEARING (YES THEY ARE RAISING THEM AGAIN--see petition of over 500 district taxpayers asking for board accountability) --In case anyone missed it they raised the property tax rate again (4th time) in 2010 and more than likely will do so again in 2011 facing another projected 15-20 million dollar budget deficit, according to some media reports. ***NEW*** ..Petition TO STOP THE GSTC (Global Science Museum being planned at the district central office--near $30 million dollar project that superintendent Jenney is pushing): http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthegcst/ (see update below on this apparently ending this project after 2 years)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

FB Sun Covers First Ever FBISD Budget Deficit!

Fort Bend ISD approves proposed budget

Published: 08.27.08

Fort Bend ISD board members made no modifications to the district’s proposed $477.5 budget despite opposition from several residents and a state official to various aspects of the 2008-09 budget.

Board members gave their “OK” to the budget despite a $9.9 million deficit, and also gave the green light to several major expenditure increases, including employee pay raises.

The approved budget includes a 3 percent pay increase on base salary for all district employees, bringing starting salaries for teachers to $44,000.

The newly approved budget also includes $5.1 million for additional staffing, $1.2 million in TASB proposed equity adjustments and $2.26 million in increases for vehicle fuel inflation, among other expenditures.

Prior to the budget’s approval, several speakers voiced opposition to aspects of the budget, including Texas State Rep. Charlie Howard. . .

. . . Board members listened to several other comments from the public on the proposed budget, including

former school board candidate and Fresno resident Rodrigo Carreon.

“Some of our staff here have been working 23 years and never got a raise,” said Carreon.

Carreon questioned why funds from the district were going to the state.

The Fresno resident recommended the district look at alternative fuels such as natural gas versus diesel to save on fuel expenses.

A member of the Fort Bend Employee Federation encouraged the board to improve pay increases for classified employees and teachers above TASB recommendations.

“Equity adjustments and pay increases won’t lift our employees above the poverty level,” said the federation member, echoing a sentiment shared by an earlier speaker.

Richmond resident, Chris Calvin, said he would like to see the board take a closer look at the fund balance.

“Why with all of this money can’t we balance the budget without a tax increase this year,” said Calvin, citing open record information showing the district with a $93.8 million fund balance.

Fort Bend resident Carlos Kane told board members that he did not want to see his property taxes go up.

He expressed strong opposition to board members for proposing the .02 cent tax increase and encouraged board members to remedy the budget deficit through monies in the fund balance rather than by increasing taxes on homeowners.

“I have no objection to teacher’s getting their raises, they should have gotten them a long time ago,” said Kane.

“What I have an objection to is the $100 million dollars that you all had stashed in a trust fund,” said Kane

(follow this link for the full FB Sun story)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Official, District Approves First Deficit Budget!

Lawmaker upset with FBISD tax-rate hike
Union not satisfied with workers' raises
By ZEN T.C. ZHENG Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Lawmaker irked

During the budget public hearing and the regular meeting that followed when trustees adopted the budget, several trustees praised the budget and the 3-percent pay raise for employees. However, not all meeting attendees agreed.
Trustee Steve Smelley described Fort Bend ISD's property tax rate as low among districts in the Houston area, with Katy Independent School District topping the list.

Katy ISD's proposed 2008-09 budget of $524.9 million is based on the same tax rate as last year or $1.52 per $100 of valuation.

Smelley said, "We've been good stewards of our taxpayers' money and invest it wisely. That allowed us to the things we do and still save our taxpayers money when we can."

Texas Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, said he was "disappointed" with Smelley.
Howard pointed out that the district was raising its property tax rate unnecessarily while other taxing jurisdictions, such as Fort Bend County and the city of Sugar Land, have lowered their rates.

"As I walk around the district on an annual basis, the biggest complaint I have heard has been property taxes," Howard said. "Mr. Smelley, I appreciate your comparison of Fort Bend ISD's tax rate with school districts in the area. But I remind you that our tax burden is a function of the tax rate and the appraisals. Our appraisals have been going much higher than most school districts in the state."

Resident Chris Calvin lashed out at school officials for not "maximizing public input."
Both Calvin and Howard took issue with the district's public hearing scheduled at 5 p.m., an inconvenient time for those who were just getting off work in Houston to fight through peak-hour traffic.

"You are setting your tax rate at 7 and you are having a hearing at 5, how much time do you have in taking into consideration any comments you'll get?" Howard asked Smelley before being interrupted by trustee Bob Broxson who announced that Howard's three-minute speech time was up.

Resident Carlos Cain told trustees that he was "mad" at the 2-cent tax rate hike and that district officials had in the past denied to him that there was surplus money.

"I don't have an objection to teachers getting raises that they should've gotten a long time ago. What I have objection to is $100 million that y'all have stashed in a trust fund and y'all denied, denied and denied," Cain said. "If you have a fuel deficit in your budget, don't focus on the homeowners who are already struggling."

FBISDWatch comment:

Board members, who fully pushed the record bond debt last year, criticized the lawmaker (Howard) for opposing this increase to help service the bond debt he too supported at the end of '07. All of this while the district is sitting on a near 100 million in surplus dollars.

Get the full story here....

and this related piece here...

Click here for latest updates...

More updates...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

FBS: FBISD Adopts Deficit Budget For The First Time In District History (this includes a near $100 million dollar fund balance surplus)-

FBW comment:
In 2007 the school district asked for and received a record bond debt for the fast growing school district. Now in this Fort Bend Star piece, for the first time in district history, the system will be operating a deficit budget. This while sitting on a near $100 million dollar surplus in their fund balance. What does this mean for the future of the district? Are we selling out our childrens future to further taxes and bond debt? Why won't the BOT and central office use the surplus, which is close to $20 million dollars over the states guides for these accounts?-Click here for the full story from Fort Bend Star--

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chron: Nearly $100 Million In District Fund Balance (Special Acct.)!

Board considers increase in tax rate, salaries

Full story available at the chronicle-click here-

A 2-cent tax rate hike and a 3-percent pay raise for all employees are included in a budget proposal that Fort Bend Independent School District officials are fine-tuning for 2008-09.
Residents will have a chance to tell school officials what they think about the proposed budget of $474 million at a public meeting on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. at the district administration building, 16431 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land. . .

. . .The proposed $474 million budget would include expenditures totaling about $11.3 million more than the 2007-08 budget.
As the proposed 2008-09 expenditures would fall short of the projected revenues by $9.3 million, district officials are considering dipping into a pool of funds known as the fund-balance account. The account, with a current balance of $93.8 million, is surplus money leftover from previous year budgets.

That balance exceeds the maximum amount of what the state recommends to keep in savings for rainy days by $18 million, according to officials of the Fort Bend Employee Federation, a district employee union that has been pushing for higher pay increases for classified employees such as bus drivers and workers at cafeterias and warehouses.
FBW comment:

Do the voters realize that the district is keeping nearly 100 million dollars in a fund balance account from past budgets? How much more of our monies are being tucked away without our approval for a "rainy day".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FBN: Dr. Jenney Attempts To Put Rumors To Rest About Possible Raise-

Jenney Raise Rumors Not True, School District Says
by John Pape, FBN

Despite rumors to the contrary, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney has not received a substantial raise or bonus from school trustees.

The rumors began to circulate after the recent district TAKS results and state accreditation rankings were announced. Amounts of the alleged raise ranged as high as $100,000.

Several of the rumors also appeared on Fort Bend-related blogs. Some linked the raise or bonus to the accreditation ranking results.

According to the district, however, Jenney has received neither a raise nor a bonus...

Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FBN: FBISD Sets Budget & Tax Hearing-

"To comply with provisions of the Texas Education Code, the board is required to set and conduct a public meeting to give taxpayers an opportunity to offer input on the proposed budget and tax rates. At the recommendation of district administrators, trustees set the public hearing for Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. in the board room of the district administration building.

The board also set the proposed tax rates at .23 per $100 valuation for debt service, and $1.04 for district maintenance and operations.

In introducing the tax rates for trustees’ consideration, Board President Sonal Bhuchar stressed that the establishment of the rates did not mean trustees were voting to adopt them."

Get the full story:

Monday, August 11, 2008

From FortBendWeb.com: Is The BOT Considering A Substantial Raise For Dr. Jenney?

It has been reported to FBW, that an unconfirmed rumor is circulating on a number of fort bend blog-sites, that apparently the FBISD school board may be considering a large raise for the superintendant of schools during this reported budget crisis and with no rating increase for the district (academically acceptable) in 2007-08. This too followed a record bond debt voted at the end of 2007. For more on the budget crisis, see this FB Star piece:

FBISD dilemma: raises and deficit
budget or balanced budget and no raises

By Barbara Fulenwider, Fort Bend Star
The Fort Bend ISD board is between a rock and a hard place. They can adopt a balanced budget that includes no raises or much staffing beyond campuses or give employee raises and adopt a deficit budget.

The superintendent of another school district, faced with a similar scenario, said it’s a problem 50 percent of Texas districts are facing this year thanks to legislators having changed the school funding formula two years ago. While the state’s public school districts are pinched, the state has a big bankroll this year. . . (get the full story below)

FBW comment: It concerns this FBW contributor, that in a district experiencing excessive growth and bond debt, along with mediocre academic performance, especially in the middle and high schools of the east end of the district (no recognized or exemplary campuses), that the board may be considering such an action as rewarding the chief school executive. We will update this story as it develops.

Story sources:




Friday, August 8, 2008

FBS: Deficit Spending May Become Reality For The First Time In FBISD

FBISD dilemma: raises and deficit
budget or balanced budget and no raises

By Barbara Fulenwider
The Fort Bend ISD board is between a rock and a hard place. They can adopt a balanced budget that includes no raises or much staffing beyond campuses or give employee raises and adopt a deficit budget.

The superintendent of another school district, faced with a similar scenario, said it’s a problem 50 percent of Texas districts are facing this year thanks to legislators having changed the school funding formula two years ago. While the state’s public school districts are pinched, the state has a big bankroll this year.

So with having to operate with $465 million, the same amount of dollars as last year, while needing more staff for two new schools and paying increased fuel prices, the district’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Seale presented the board with three options on raises.

The first is a one percent raise for all employees and a projected budgeted deficit of $1,057,700; the second is a two percent raise with a deficit of $5,605,900; the third is a three percent raise and a projected budgeted deficit of $9,251,100. Seale said staff has “not made a recommendation to the board” regarding the three options.

He pointed to the fact that Cypress-Fairbanks school district “is cutting staff and freezing salaries” and the “Alief is giving a big raise but preparing to go into their fund balance between $20 to $25 million.”

What the board is wrestling with, Seale said, “is making sure they give teachers and the rest of staff the largest possible raise and still be fiscally responsible.”. . . (get the full story at http://www.fortbendstar.com/080608/n_FBISD%20dilemma%20raises%20and%20deficit%20budget%20or%20balanced%20budget%20and%20no%20raises.htm)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Upcoming Important Dates-

Important Dates:

August 11 - Board Budget Workshop - 5:00 PM

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 12 - New Teacher Orientation - Dulles High School - 8:00 AM

August 16 - FBISD Parent Organizations/Booster Clubs Meeting - 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Admin. Annex

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Classes begin for the 2008-09 school year

August 25 - Budget Public Hearing - Board Room - 5:00 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting/Adopt Budget and Tax Rate - 7:00 PM

Sept. 1 - Labor Day Holiday

Friday, August 1, 2008

FBN: FBISD Rated Academically Acceptable, below KISD

Katy and Needville school districts jumped to "Recognized" status in the state's just-released academic ratings data for 2008, while Fort Bend County's other district maintained the same ratings as last year.

According to academic rating data released Friday afternoon by the Texas Education Agency, Fort Bend ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD and Stafford Municipal School District all were rated as "Academically Acceptable," one notch below Katy and Needville. . .

-Get the full story at: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&article-Katy--Needville-ISDs-Boost-Their-Academic-Ratings--Kendleton-ISD-Gets-Warning%20=&id=169878-Katy--Needville-ISDs-Boost-Their-Academic-Ratings--Kendleton-ISD-Gets-Warning&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Ratings found at:


Full Campus Ratings & Lists For FBISD:

ACCOUNTABILITY RATING: Academically Acceptable

CAMPUS LIST (in campus number order)


001 DULLES H S Academically Acceptable
002 WILLOWRIDGE H S Academically Acceptable
004 CLEMENTS H S Recognized
005 KEMPNER H S Academically Acceptable
006 LAWRENCE E ELKINS H S Academically Acceptable
007 STEPHEN F AUSTIN H S Recognized
008 HIGHTOWER H S Academically Acceptable
010 FORT BEND CO ALTER Not Rated: Other
011 GEORGE BUSH HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
012 THURGOOD MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
013 WILLIAM B TRAVIS HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
041 DULLES MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
042 MISSOURI CITY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
043 SUGAR LAND MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
044 QUAIL VALLEY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
045 FIRST COLONY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
046 CHRISTA MCAULIFFE MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
047 HODGES BEND MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
048 LAKE OLYMPIA MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
049 MACARIO GARCIA MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
052 BILLY BAINES MIDDLE SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
053 DAVID CROCKETT MIDDLE SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
101 E A JONES EL Academically Acceptable
102 LAKEVIEW EL Recognized
108 BLUE RIDGE EL Academically Acceptable
109 RIDGEMONT EL Academically Acceptable
110 MEADOWS EL Recognized
111 QUAIL VALLEY EL Academically Acceptable
112 DULLES EL Recognized
113 BRIARGATE EL Recognized
114 TOWNEWEST EL Recognized
115 LANTERN LANE EL Academically Acceptable
116 RIDGEGATE EL Academically Acceptable
117 COLONY BEND EL Recognized
118 MISSION BEND EL Recognized
119 SUGAR MILL EL Exemplary
120 SETTLERS WAY EL Recognized
121 PALMER EL Recognized
122 HUNTERS GLEN EL Academically Acceptable
123 HIGHLANDS EL Recognized
124 MISSION GLEN EL Exemplary
125 PECAN GROVE EL Exemplary
126 AUSTIN PARKWAY EL Recognized
129 MISSION WEST EL Recognized
131 EDGAR GLOVER JR EL Academically Acceptable
134 BURTON EL Academically Acceptable
136 BRAZOS BEND EL Exemplary
143 MARY AUSTIN HOLLEY ELEM Academically Acceptable
145 OAKLAND ELEMENTARY Academically Acceptable