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BCISD board wades through state’s school finance law

BCISD Students of the Month for January 2023

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees recognized Burnet High School students of the month for January and their teachers during a meeting on Jan. 16. Pictured are art teacher Dawn Campbell (left), students Jahir Benitez and Claire Teague, theatre teacher Amanda Brandenburg, and Principal Casey Burkhart. Courtesy photo

Money, money, money. When Burnet Consolidated Independent School District trustees met Monday, Jan. 16, they waded through Texas’ complicated school finance system, approving the purchase of attendance credits from the state to offset excess revenue. 

Superintendent Keith McBurnett explained why BCISD paid $10 million in recapture payments to the state for distribution to poorer districts while facing a reduction in the Foundation School Program because of higher-than-expected school property tax revenues.

“The recapture payment of $10 million doubles the amount of base State funding BCISD receives,” McBurnett stated in a district media release. “As a reminder, the State is projecting to reduce state spending for the Foundation School Program by $4.3 billion (statewide) in the current school year due to higher-than-expected school property tax revenues. That means that the State will provide less funding for public schools because local taxpayers provided more.” 

A little more than half of that reduction to the FSP is paid for by higher-than-expected recapture payments. 

“This means that the State is requiring Burnet CISD to make a $10 million recapture payment, and a significant portion of those funds won’t go to property-poor school districts, but rather to the State’s general fund to be spent how they (legislators) please,” McBurnett continued.

The district’s wealth is based on property value per student attendance days. The state uses attendance credits to determine the amount of recapture funds to collect from wealthier school districts. School boards are required to purchase attendance credits to lower the district’s wealth per attendance day. Boards are also required to approve the recapture amount each year.

IN OTHER BCISD BUSINESS

The board approved a new cover for the Burnet Middle School greenhouse, which was recently damaged by high winds. 

Trustees also approved an early resignation notification incentive of $500 for contract professionals that will allow the district to begin teacher recruitment early. 

“With the current enrollment fluctuation and staff retirements, this incentive allows the district to be efficient and accurate while planning for the next budget year,” McBurnett said. 

A five-year strategic plan in the works since November was approved to replace the 2017 plan. The new plan includes a vision statement, mission statement, and goals and is available for viewing online.

A status report on the 2021 bond program is also available online. The board heard a review of bond projects from Bo Ledoux with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction. 

An election for places 3 and 7 on the board was called for May 6. Those seats are currently held by Suzanne Brown and Mark Kincaid, respectively. Trustees serve three-year terms. 

The board also recognized Claire Teague and Jahir Benitez as students of the month for January at Burnet High School and cross-country athlete Hudson Bennett for earning Academic All-State distinction in the sport.

McBurnett presented each board member with a branded BCISD backpack in honor of January as School Board Recognition Month. He called the backpacks a “small token of appreciation.” 

“Our board members are extraordinary people who voluntarily tackle the enormous job of governing our school district,” he said in the media release. “Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children. They play a crucial role in crafting the future in Burnet CISD.”

A public hearing was held to discuss the district’s Texas Academic Performance Report, which provides information on student performance. The TAPR also includes data on staff, programs, and student demographics. A copy of the annual report can be found online. 

The Board of Trustees’ next regular meeting is at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, in the BCISD Board Room, 208 E. Brier St. in Burnet.

editor@thepicayune.com

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