The Texas Legislature really knows how to kill the mood at a school board meeting — at least for the Glen Rose Independent School District and its 1,760 students.
After the Board of Trustees honored several stellar student-athletes who have earned all-state and academic all-state honors during the 2016-2017 school year, Superintendent Wayne Rotan gave a legislative update.
It was not a pretty picture.
A big chunk of the “there” that was expected to be there in the 2017-2018 budget probably won’t be there after all.
Glen Rose is ranked in the top five percent of the “property-wealthy” school districts in Texas. The state’s school finance system’s so-called “Robin Hood” recapture distribution method funnels money to the other 95 percent of the schools.
If the Legislature passes a bill that is currently being considered, major changes are potentially on the way for the GRISD and the rest of the top 5 percent.
Rotan said that on Tuesday morning, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB22. Next, the proposed bill will be considered by the Texas Senate Education Committee.
Rotan noted that he has been in contact with Texas Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) about the local concerns, and noted that “the bill still has a long way to go” before it can be signed into law — if it is passed.
“Glen Rose is in the 5 percent that loses revenue, in weighted average daily attendance. We will lose almost $5.5 million a year, through Robin Hood recapture,” Rotan told the board. “Our property values have decreased by over a billion dollars since 2011.”
On Tuesday after hearing that HB22 was passed by the House, Rotan told the Glen Rose Reporter that the GRISD is already spending 10 percent less each school year than it did 10 years ago.
“This would take another 30 percent from us,” Rotan said. “There’s no way we can get back to where we were, revenue-wise. Even if we go to our maximum (tax) rate, there’s no way we can generate those funds. We’re keeping about one out of every three cents we’re collecting. The biggest issue is that 100 percent of our property value growth has gone back to the state.”
With the wording of the final bill still unknown, Rotan stated what he hopes the best possible outcome could be.
“It would be to increase the basic allotment — the amount of revenue you get to keep per student,” he said.
While the average daily enrollment stands at just over 1,700, the GRISD’s “weighted” enrollment is 2,200. That makes allowances for students in special education, those who are economically challenged, and for career and technology programs.”
Rotan noted that since the Robin Hood concept became law starting with the 1992-93 school year, the GRISD has sent approximately $550 million to Austin in recaptured funds.
Rotan said that 80 percent of the GRISD budget is employee salaries and insurance costs. Because of that, the personnel outlook — and even classroom options — may be affected.
“That’s the place you’ve got to look,” Rotan said, referring to salaries. “We certainly can’t offer the things we have today on that amount.”
Earlier in the board meeting, five Glen Rose High School cheerleaders who earned academic all-state cheerleading honors for the current school year were cited. They are Brittany Rosentreter, Elizabeth Boyd, Emileigh Cantwell, Jaylan Evans and Kaley Shaw. Shaw is a TGCA All-Star Cheerleader Legacy selection.
GRHS girls basketball coach Ramsey Ghazal recognized two of his senior players — academic all-state performer Jaylan Evans along with all-state and academic all-state player Ally Andress. Also, Ethan Hartman was cited for being named to the academic all-state boys basketball team.
Two teachers were also recognized for outstanding performance.
First was Intermediate School Principal Lauri Mapes, followed by Donna Fowler, who teaches Gifted and Talented students at the elementary and junior high schools. Fowler was named by Tarleton State University as the Effective Schools Project Teacher of the Year.
Glen Rose Junior High School Principal announced that James P. Goodnight, a descendant of legendary trailblazer and cattle baron Charles Goodnight, will be delivering humorous stories and tall tales in a presentation at the junior high auditorium from 10:40 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 31. It’s open to members of the community. Please RSVP to Patti Hawkins by calling 254-964-0707.
Because of a conflict with Project Graduation, the next board of trustees meeting has been moved to Thursday, April 20.