2015-16 Budget Adopted
The Board of Trustees adopted the district's 2015-16 budget at its June 22 meeting. Deputy Superintendent of Finance & Support Tony Harkleroad presented highlights of the budget in support of the district's strategic vision, priority goals, and in response to continued student enrollment growth.
RISD is anticipated to receive additional revenue due to moderate projected enrollment growth. Funding from the 2015 Texas legislative session also provided a small increase for public education for two years, including the 2015-16 budget year. While RISD appreciates the efforts of legislators, funding levels per student remain lower than the 2010-11 school year, prior to the historic funding reductions of the 2011 Texas legislative session.
Recommendations for the 2015-16 budget reflect district priorities and feedback received from the community Budget Review Team, staff and Board members in the budget planning process.
Highlights of the 2015-16 budget include:
- No increase to the operating tax rate, which remains unchanged since 2007, when it was reduced to its current level of $1.04 per $100 of taxable value
- Additional teaching allocations to keep pace with enrollment growth
- Additional staff allocations to serve students receiving special services
- A stipend for special education teachers as an area of critical need
- Three percent raise for teachers and staff who meet performance expectations
- An increase in the district's contribution to employee health care premiums to help offset increases from the state
RISD's fiscal year begins July 1.
View the 2015-16 Budget
Six RISD schools are serving as sites for summer school programming this year, including Berkner H.S., which is hosting more than 300 junior high students from around the district in the 2015 Ignite program. Ignite embraces students with strong potential and ability and instills passion for learning through a series of engaging, hands-on activities, field trips, projects, and exposure to practicing professionals as a catalyst for career aspirations.
Students rotate through different aspects of the Ignite program, such as:
- Group projects in the business rotation that involve dreaming up products, creating a business plan and pitching their ideas to local entrepreneurs, similar to the popular show Shark Tank.
- Students in the STEM rotation engineer solutions to practical problems using available materials, utilizing hands-on curriculum provided by Discovery Science.
"Ignite is a new effort in RISD," said Assistant Superintendent Tabitha Branum. "It's a fun, interactive way to kindle excitement about learning in students who have unlimited potential but have not been as academically successful as we know they can be. The activities and curriculum are fun and engaging, and students have responded enthusiastically."
Spotlight on RISD
Click to watch the year end Spotlight on RISD
Dr. Terry Harris has been named Executive Director of Human Resources for Support Services. In his new role, Harris will oversee the hiring and retention of paraprofessional and classified employees across the district.
Dr. Harris has been with RISD for 14 years, most recently as Executive Director of Human Resources for Retention, Mentoring & Leadership and has also served in curriculum & instruction and as an assistant principal.
He holds a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Austin College, and master's and doctoral degrees in Education Administration and Leadership from Texas A&M Commerce.
Ms. Carmen Steward has been named the new principal of Christa McAuliffe Learning Center, RISD's alternative school.
Ms. Steward has been with RISD for 13 years, most recently as an assistant principal at Berkner H.S. She has also served as director of RISD's AVID program and began her career in RISD as a classroom teacher. Ms. Steward holds a bachelor's degree in History from The University of Texas at Dallas and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Ms. Carmen Casamayor-Ryan has been named RISD's new Director of Bilingual and ESL Programs. Ms. Ryan has served as principal of Mark Twain Elementary for the last seven years, and began her 20 year career in education as a Bilingual Program teacher in RISD.
She holds a bachelor's degree from The University of St. Thomas in Houston and earned her master's degree from The University of Houston.
Reminder - Focus Coming in the Fall
RISD is in the process of implementing a new student information system called Focus for the 2015-16 school year. This extensive effort will impact parents who are accustomed to accessing their child's grade and attendance information through Star Portal, which will be discontinued and replaced by Focus to provide this function for parents.
Information about Focus account creation will be available to parents in the Fall.