On March 29, the Humble ISD board of trustees met for a special budget meeting. This meeting was held to discuss objectives, a zero-based budgeting approach, 2022 and 2023 considerations, priorities, employee compensation and future projections.

Humble ISD CFO Billy Beattie gave a presentation that started with the budgetary objectives. “First, let me state that the budget recommendations are aligned to the district goals, which include safety, quality instruction, resource alignment, quality staff and culture.”

Beattie added, “When it comes to the budget process, the district takes a zero-based budgeting approach. That is, each campus and department reviews their own recurring budget and repurposes recurring funds, where possible. Each also reviews one-time expenses and can use carryforward process (15%) to encourage departments and campuses to save budget for one-time purchases.” After this initial phase, increases are submitted for review. Finally, the leadership team receives and prioritizes items within our means according to our goals and values.”

The considerations or themes for the 2022 fiscal year budget include legislative details, virtual funding, continued COVID-19 impacts, winter storm fallout and ESSER funding.

When the team came together, it was decided to expand the budgetary considerations for the 2023 fiscal year to include the following: Attendance numbers (which are still hovering at lower-than-pre-COVID-19 numbers), inflation dollars, COVID-19 continued impacts, staffing, districtwide growth, virtual instruction, ESSER funding, property value growth throughout the Greater Lake Houston area, and GT/State Compensatory Education.

“With all the exciting things happening around the district, we decided that the 2023 priorities needed to focus on areas such as the following: Student programs/innovation/personalized instruction, compensation, special education, campus/department initiatives, new/updated campuses (e.g., ARMS, KMS) and unavoidable expenses (e.g., property insurance increases due to claims and our overall investment in our facilities),” continued Beattie.

As the meeting ended, Beattie stated, “There are several assumptions and major items under the umbrella of budget projections. As for the assumptions, we expect to add 1,200 in the 2023 fiscal year with a pre-COVID-19 attendance rate of 95%. We are planning on $23M in new revenue that we plan to maximize every bit of throughout this duration. The major items include compensation (as previously-stated), staffing for anticipated growth, ARMS, SPED and property insurance.”

In summary, Beattie remarked, “We are very optimistic about the budget. In the current school year, we expect to receive projected revenues. During the year, we added 2,700 students — which was substantially higher than previous years or expected numbers. In looking at the numbers, 85% of the budget is comprised of salaries and benefits.”

The district plans to hold a board budget workshop April 19 and May 24. The April meeting will review prioritized items and staffing recommendations. The agenda for the May meeting will also be posted.

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