On June 20th, the San Antonio ISD Board of Trustees voted to approve the budget for the 2022-2023 school year. The budget planning process took five months and included a total of five public budget workshops.
We approved a total of $690,307,885 in appropriations to support our more than ninety campuses. Eighty four percent of the approved budget directly supports day to day operations of our schools, and the remaining 16 percent supports debt service related to publicly voted-on bonds.
This year’s budget process was not an easy one. As I explained in a previous LNF Weekly Article, the majority of school operations funding in Texas is determined by district enrollment and average daily attendance rates. Both enrollment and attendance are lower than they have been in the past, meaning our district receives less money.
Enrollment in San Antonio ISD has been declining for the past decade, likely due to growth of charter schools in our district that aggressively recruit in the neighborhoods surrounding San Antonio ISD schools. The growth in the number of students who live in San Antonio ISD but attend non-district charter schools correlates with decline in enrollment in our district schools.
COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on daily attendance rates. Before COVID, we could anticipate average attendance rates of 93 percent or above. In the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, average attendance has been under 90 percent.
The budget for the 2022-2023 school year anticipates district enrollment of 44,676 students and 90 percent attendance. Should more students than expected enroll, or if our attendance rates exceed 90 percent, we will have more revenue than planned and can invest those funds into our classrooms.
To address the loss of funding and ensure that student instruction and services are sufficiently supported, district administrators reduced their department budgets by eliminating positions that have not been filled and/or reorganizing the staffing of their departments.
By cutting costs and drawing on federal COVID-recovery funds, the district has been able to invest in initiatives that will directly support high quality instruction and stability in classrooms next year.
Next year’s budget includes a three percent raise for all full-time staff, an increase in pay for part-time workers from $9.25 to $12 an hour ($16 for a few positions), increased stipends for special education and bilingual teachers (these are areas where we have the most vacant positions), and an increase in pay rates for substitute teachers. I am proud that, despite the fiscal challenges we face right now, our district has committed to investing in the educators and workers who contribute to the academic success of our students.
While the budget planning process required district staff and the Board of Trustees to make some difficult decisions, I am generally pleased with the direction our budget planning process is moving in. Before being elected to the board, I expressed concern that the district’s budgeting process was not transparent and did not provide enough information to the members of the public, or, for that matter, to the trustees themselves -- information that was critical to understand how and why funds were being allocated. This budget process was the most transparent I've seen in my time as a San Antonio ISD parent.
We still have plenty of room for improvement, but I am heartened by our new superintendent Dr. Jaime Aquino’s stated commitment to starting the budget planning process earlier next year and ensuring that community members have more opportunity to shape district budgeting decisions.
Public schools belong to the public and community members should be part of the budget planning process.
Sarah Sorensen is our district's representative on the SAISD Board of Trustees
Our district has committed to investing in the educators and workers who contribute to the academic success of our students.
The SAISD 2022 - 2023 budget
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
The School District Budget Process
SAISD is doing the 2022-2023 budget now, and it's a long and complex process.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Where are my tax dollars going? The ABC's of school funding
Property taxes keep rising, but the schools are still underfunded. What's going on?