Image: Several members of the Citizens Budget Committee appear in this photograph taken in the Montgomery County Commissioners Courtroom including Reagan Reed (third from left), Kelli Cook (sixth from left), Ginger Russell (seventh from left), Cindy Muth Gaskill (eighth from left), and Committee Chairman Jon Bouche (second from right). Please note that the other individuals, including County Judge Mark Keough and his Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps, are not members of the Committee.
Citizen committee calls for higher teacher pay, less administration, no bond.
Conroe, August 6 – The Citizens Budget Committee (CBC) issued a final report which contains recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget for Conroe Independent School District (CISD). In contrast to the proposed budget, which the CISD and Board of Trustees have promulgated, the Citizens Budget Committee makes four striking recommendations which differ:
- The CBC recommends a 25% higher teacher pay raise than CISD has recommend;
- The CBC recommends a budget which includes a 20% reduction in CISD administration expenditures;
- The CBC recommends use of surplus funds to reduce the Debt Service tax rate to 0.22 per $100 valuation rather than CISD’s proposed 0.265 higher date rate; and
- The CBC recommends using surplus funds from the coming Fiscal Year for capital projects rather than any bond financing. In other words, the CBC recommends against a bond.
The full CBC Report appears at the end of this article.
The Citizens Budget Committee explained in the report “The Citizens Budget Committee met over two (2) months and reviewed as much information as CISD’s administration made available. The Citizens Budget Committee invited CISD’s administration to attend every Committee meeting but no one from the administration participated.” The Committee spent 500 person-hours preparing the analysis and conclusions, substantially more than the CISD Board of Trustees has ever spent to pass the annual budget, which the Board regularly just merely accepts after the administration provides a brief PowerPoint presentation.
Jon Bouche, Chairman of the CBC, had strong words for CISD when he released the CBC Report. Bouche said, “House Bill 3 was passed so that our underpaid teachers could get a well-deserved pay raise. It is unfortunate that the administrators are now hijacking that legislation to pad their already bloated salaries.”
Bouche added, “If this CISD Board just moves a few numbers around, announces they are cutting our taxes and then they raise our tax bill, we should replace every damn one of them. I think people are sick of the games. I know I am.”
“If this CISD Board just moves a few numbers around, announces they are cutting our taxes and then they raise our tax bill, we should replace every damn one of them. I think people are sick of the games. I know I am.” – – Jon Bouche, Chairman, Citizens Budget Committee
The Citizens Budget Committee Chairman made clear that the CBC’s priority was educational outcomes for the children of CISD and ensuring that teachers receive the pay raise they deserve rather than wasting those funds on high administration salaries and on bond projects which will cost the children and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars without achieving any positive results. “Taking care of our teachers and achieving better educational outcomes for the students should be the goal of any CISD spending plan. If anything within their proposed bond does not meet that criteria, it should be cut,” Bouche said.
The following chart illustrates the fundamental differences between the CISD’s proposed budget and the CBC budget.
Bouche explained, “The primary difference between our proposal and the CISD administration’s proposal is that we demand full teacher pay raises and we find other cost savings so that CISD may proceed with construction with one new elementary school this year and that a bond is completely unnecessary. Hopefully, CISD will follow a similar model in future years and avoid bond financing altogether.”
The entire Citizens Budget Committee Report follows.