SBISD may be forced to cut security measures and educational program if state doesn't up funding 90%

Lileana Pearson Image
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Springs Branch ISD could expect cuts due to low funding
Spring Branch ISD could be looking at changes after the state contributed a mere fraction to its funding, despite the $33 billion surplus.

SPRING BRANCH, Texas (KTRK) -- Budget problems are brewing in Spring Branch ISD for the 2024-25 school year, as the state's contribution is a mere fraction of what district leaders were expecting.

According to SBISD Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, the comptroller suggested the $900 per-student increase to their budget to help the school keep up with inflation. So the district was shocked when the state, at first, offered just $50, then $90 a student, despite having a $33 billion surplus.

"We believe $1,000 is really the amount we need to stay whole, it doesn't give us extra," Blaine said.

Blaine said if they can't find more money, they will be forced to consider combining schools, increasing class sizes, cutting back on safety and security, and raising the tax rate.

"I want them to listen, and I want them to put more money into public education, and I want them to honor and value the great job we are doing with our kids," Blaine said.

Jen Espey, who's a mother who still has one daughter in the school district, has taken it upon herself to travel back and forth to Austin to advocate for funding.

"You almost can't believe that it's real. You're like, 'This is serious,' and I know it is," Espey said.

Espey spoke with lawmakers about how cuts could take away mental health care and security measures at a time when many parents are already on edge.

"You want kids to go to school and have a safe day and come home. So that's very scary for some parents to think that our police force could be affected deeply by this," Espey said.

Blaine said she asked lawmakers why this is their choice but has not received a good answer.

"No, we don't feel like we've gotten sufficient information," Blaine said.

ABC13 has been investigating this issue for years. In previous reports, we learned a flow chart designed in the '80s determines where the money goes. It's confusing, and funding decisions are made based on an outdated system that hasn't worked for several generations.

Eyewitness News reached out to state lawmakers, but we haven't heard back.

Espey hopes someone in power can make a decision before the legislative session ends in the coming weeks.

"They listen, but then the action with the legislation they propose is not matching up," Espey said.

The Spring Branch Board of Trustees will discuss the budget and legislative updates on Friday starting at 9 am. You can attend in person at the technology training center or watch the live stream.

For more news updates, follow Lileana Pearson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.