A message from Mr. McDonough:
Earlier today, I updated the Bellaire faculty and staff on the recent decisions made by the HISD to meet the anticipated budget deficit. As I shared in February, the district was heading toward a major shift in how dollars are delivered to campuses. Namely, they were moving away from a PUA model to an FTE model. In short, the District was moving away from a “weighted” formula and were instead focused on “centralizing” dollars and decisions. The impact at Bellaire was going to be more than a $2.5Million cut (approximately 23% of the total budget). Bellaire was not alone, as many secondary schools across the HISD were faced with major decreases in their budgets.
The HISD has since decided to push the pause button on this move, and, instead, they will continue to deliver financial resources to campuses using the PUA model. This has been the model for just short of twenty years, and this decision leads to cuts that are far more modest than the original FTE drafted plan. I would now characterize the deficit as being approximately 5% of our overall budget. While there will be fewer dollars coming in support of our students, I am confident that a decrease like this is manageable and will not lead to the elimination of any programs here on campus.
I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by our interim superintendent, her staff, and our Board of Trustees for slowing down this work. The belief that we must find the best ways to use our sparse dollars while ensuring every student has access to rigorous academics, robust extracurricular programs, and a safe setting in which to experience it all is important work. Over the past 10 weeks I have spoken with students, parents, alumni, community members, and business leaders, and the common thread among all of them is that we have to get this right. There is far too much at stake. And I agree 100%. By choosing to pause, step back, examine, collaborate, and develop the best way to serve our students is the best example of how they respect the gravity of this challenge. Perhaps it will be PUA, maybe FTE, or even something in between. My point is that I am now fueled by the prospect of our school community, the entire Houston community, feeling empowered with enough information to fully engage in this challenge. For those here at 5100 Maple, we are at our best when we feel support and appreciation. This community has provided that in so many forms; you are truly our partners and, because of that, all of our kids will prosper.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.