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Hutto ISD trustees look at budget cuts for next year

13 Jan
LAURI ZACHRY
Education Reporter

Round Rock Leader

Since a 6-cent tax rate election failed in Hutto ISD in November, administrators and school board members must now consider cutting an additional $1.2 million from its projected $38.9 million 2012-13 school year budget.

One of the major factors affecting HISD’s budget is Texas school districts are not receiving additional funding from the state to fund student growth, said HISD assistant superintendent of business and finance Ed Ramos. They are predicting 4-percent growth, to 5,879 students, which adds an additional $1.5 million to next school year’s budget.

“There is no way to leave expenses as is because extra students will be coming in,” Ramos said during Thursday’s HISD Board of Trustees meeting. “We have to do something because of our increased growth.”

Currently, it costs $6,831 to educate a student in HISD.

HISD Superintendent Doug Killian said the community has already experienced the $4.5 million in cuts made for the 2011-12 school year in ways such as charging an extracurricular fee for students competing in middle school and high school University Interscholastic League events. The fees are charged on a sliding scale starting with a $25 yearly

fee for a student to participate in unlimited activities. Students qualifying for federal reduced lunch programs are charged $12.50 and for students on free lunch the fee is $2.50.

Killian said HISD is looking into having another tax rate election in September but this time the amount will increase the total tax rate by 13 cents. He said the tax rate election will help the district financially but some cuts will still need to be made.

“We will have to make cuts even if the tax-rate election passes since we have to pass our budget by Sept. 1,” Killian said.

One of the largest cuts administrators and board members could make is restructuring the current Legacy Early College High School located at the Temple College in Taylor campus. The program costs $500,000 to run. If students take those classes on the Hutto High School campus, HISD could save $300,000 which includes $50,000 in transportation costs.

HISD officials would need to hire four additional teachers for this program, which amounts to a total cost of $200,000, Killian said. There are 114 HISD students attending the Legacy.

Three parents spoke during Thursday’s board meeting urging the district to leave the Legacy Early College High School as is.

Trustee Connie Gooding is concerned with the possibility of parents pulling their students out of HISD and transferring to Taylor ISD since the Legacy program is offered through that school district, too. She said this could result in a loss of per-student funding for HISD.

Killian said there are several misconceptions out there regarding future plans for Legacy that administrators will have to work through over the next several months.

“Cutting Legacy all together is not the proposal we want,” Killian said. “We are looking at it and other things in our district at all levels but haven’t even begun to make those decisions yet. We have to fulfill the obligation for this year’s juniors. We would like to see if we could fulfill the obligation for this year’s sophomores as well.”

For HISD to be considered financially strong, it needs to have about $7.7 million in the fund balance. The district has $3 million in the fund balance for the 2012-13 school year. It costs approximately $3 million a month to run the school district, Ramos said.

HISD has also lost some federal Title I funding. Federal government officials state the district has approximately 464 students eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch programs. However, HISD data states 47 percent of the student population, or over 2,000 students, are eligible for the free and reduced lunch programs, Ramos said.

If the tax-rate election tentatively set for September does not pass, the district will approve a total tax rate of $1.54. Of that tax rate, $1.04 goes to the maintenance and operations portion which funds things such as teacher salaries and 50 cents of that goes to the debt service rate.

HISD will have a budget workshop Tuesday, Jan. 23 to further discuss budget options.

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Hutto ISD

9 Nov

Well, the tax failed which isn’t a big surprise, but it will be a costly one for our students. The school district needed the money to make up for the additional monies the state legislature cut from the school budget. Having already cut deeply the school board and administration is facing some very tough decisions. The results will be a few less teachers, more kids in the classrooms, less resources for our students – all of which will hurt our kids.

For those of you who grew up years ago and don’t see the problem with larger classes, take a look in today’s schools. Discipline is much harder to achieve thanks to some  parents who have never taught their kids much of anything when it comes to proper behavior, tons of paperwork imposed by the state, and a multitude of other things.This is not “leave it to Beaver” time – – this is a totally different world with problems we never dreamed of. HISD does an incredible job and has great leadership. They need the whole community behind them though.

Want a better tax system and good schools. Starts with the state legislature and ends there too – – although the State Board of Education could also use some major reforms and more people who actually care about kids and not just politics. Get involved. Start talking to people who can help.

 

Hutto business owners and entrepreneurs

31 Aug

Courses specifically designed to help the small business owner and those thinking about starting one begin September 12.

HEDC New LogoBeginning this Fall, the Hutto Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with Temple College, will begin offering a specialized course for Hutto business owners and entrepreneurs. Whether you are Temple College Logolooking to start a business or whether you already own an existing business, this 10-week FastTrac® Course is designed to aid businesses in the startup stages of business growth as well as help those with mature businesses to identify existing issues, identify potential roadblocks, and develop a plan for future growth.

How the Program Will Work

This program is broken into two sections: 1) The Introductory Seminar (please note that there is one for business start-ups and one for existing small businesses), and 2) The 10-week FastTrac® course. The Introductory Seminars will be held to introduce participants to the concepts encountered during the 10-week course, allowing participants to decide whether or not they wish to make the commitment to the 10-week FastTrac® course. The 10-week FastTrac® course will consist of ten, weekly, 3-hour sessions with relevant homework.

To Sign Up

For more information and to register, go to HEDC website to download the Informational Flier and Introductory Seminar Registration Form. Additional information about the application process is outlined in the Informational Flier.

Dates

Launching Your Entrepreneurial Future: September 12, 2011

Listening to Your Business: September 19, 2011

 2011 Dates for the 10-week FastTrac® course are as follows:

October 3, 17, 24

November 1, 7, 14, 21, 28

December 5, 12

All seminars will be held from 6 to 9pm at the Hutto Holiday Inn Express.

HISD calls for tax election

30 Aug

Voters to decide if district can have 6-cent increase to offset loss of income from the state.

Voters will decide in November if the Hutto Independent School District can raise its tax cap by 6 cents to offset a 15 percent decrease in state funding over the next two years.

If approved by voters, the tax increase would represent a $78 per year property tax increase on an average value Hutto ISD home of $131,385, according to district Assistant Superintendent of Finance Ed Ramos.

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 – The Hutto News

TSTC and Temple College Classes Set to Start

12 Aug

Temple College and Texas State Technical College classes are now registering students for classes in Hutto at the former Veterans Hill Elementary School off Limmer Loop.  Classes begin Aug 29. You can register at the school Monday – Thursday.
If you or someone you know is looking to get your freshman and sophmore classes at a real savings and then transfer to a four year college, this is the place. All classes are transferable to any college in Texas.

TSTC is offering classes in:

Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technition Certificate
Combination Welding Certificate
Electrical Construction Certificate
Food Service Operations Certificate
Industrial Systems Mechanic Certificate
Radio Communications Electronics Certificate

Class rooms are almost ready for both Academic classes and Technical with lots of new equipment being readied for hands on training. Shown here in no particular order are several of the class rooms. Not shown is the kitchen set up for the Culinary Arts program which is still be worked on but will be ready by the 29th.

Texas State Technical College is No. 1

30 Jun

Texas State Technical College is No. 1 in the entire nation among both two-year and four-year colleges when it comes to conferring the most associate degrees in the critical category of Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields.

(It is important to note they, along with Temple College) will be starting some classes here in Hutto this August!)

Community College Week magazine has released its latest analysis of the country’s Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, arguably one of the most important indicators of success for community and technical education institutions.

The move to the top slot represents a 40 percent increase in engineering-related degree conferrals for TSTC.

“We are pleased TSTC is No. 1 in producing engineering technology graduates,” said Dr. Elton E. Stuckly Jr., TSTC Waco president. “Industry leaders have consistently said skilled technicians are in high demand in today’s increasingly complex workforce. TSTC works hard to ensure our graduates meet this demand, so it’s nice to be recognized for fulfilling that need.”

In addition to ranking top in the nation in Engineering Technologies, TSTC also was top in Texas —and second in the nation — in the Computer and Information Science and Support Services category, and top in the state in the Precision Production category.

The annual report lists associate degree and certificate conferrals for the 2009-2010 academic year, the latest year for which data is available. It includes an analysis of 1,200 two- and four-year public, private and proprietary schools to produce the top 100 list. Data is collected and analyzed from the National Center for Education Statistics through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set completion survey.

Since the survey’s inception, TSTC has ranked top in the state numerous times and has stayed consistently on the top 50 list in nearly every category for which it is eligible.

Community College Week has a readership of more than 30,000 and is distributed to college employees, students, professional associations, business and industry executives, federal, state and local government officials and others. The rankings are one way the magazine recognizes the efforts of hundreds of thousands of faculty, staff and administrators who dedicate themselves to educating students.

To read the full report, visit http://www.ccweek.com/ and click on Top 100.