Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hutto Independent School District: Update

Update:  All of the below information came from open records available at the Texas Education Agency website, and may be verified there.  Information is from the Hutto ISD's latest reporting schedule, 2009-2010HISD reports 10 schools in district, but there are actually 8 campuses run exclusively by HISD, 5 of which are elementary schools. 

I have not done the same kind of in-depth research on Hutto as for Leander and Round Rock ISDs, but here are just a few notes on the Hutto Independent School District that were included in my letter to the Round Rock Leader Newspaper.

The Hutto Independent School District is small, with just 5,110 students, but  has 10 schools, 5 of which are elementary schools. 

There are 645 district employees for a 1 to 8 staff to student ratio.  Like most districts, only 52% of staff are teachers.  The average teacher salary is $45,165; the average central administrator salary is $80,903. 

Total district per pupil expenditures are $13,775.  (School districts always tout a lower number, but the total includes all costs: pensions, debt service, building and remodeling.)

There are certainly smaller districts,  but I wonder how many small districts across the state are contributing to the fact that while California has 1.6 million more students, Texas has 1,225 more schools and 52,090 more public education employees. 

The Hutto ISD Board has prudently voted to close one elementary school, Veteran's Hill, which is not at capacity.  I am sure this is heart-breaking for the teachers, students, and families associated with the school.  However, the district has not grown as expected, the economy is down, and the district will still have 9 schools for its 5,110 students. 

To place blame for Hutto ISD's financial problems entirely on the Texas Legislature is dishonest.  Education spending in Texas (and the nation for that matter) cries out for reform.  The problem is not just funding sources, but the way said funds are allocated.  Until we evaluate our districts based on all the facts, we will fail to create viable solutions.


Emily said...

Holly, your numbers are incorrect. Hutto has 8, not 10, campuses including the one that will be closed next year, leaving 7 campuses. As of Feb 2, 2011 the district had 5,446 students and I'm sure that has gone up since because our district has a high mobility rate. You failed to mention in your letter that the district is also cutting 25% of it's central admin staff, reducing employees outside of the classroom and ha repeatedly lowered camus budgets by 10% at a time. The closure of the school and the reduction of staff is absolutely the result of the legislatures cuts. If funding wasn't being cut, we would not need to close a campus and could handle staff (including central admin) through attrition. You should check your numbers before you start writing letters on things you admit you haven't reserched. Hutto's issues are not the same as nearby districts because of the exorbitant growth Hutto has experienced. It's important to know facts before you put things out as fact. You can reach me at Emily.Boswell@Hutto.txed.net if you have questions about our funding issues.

Holly Hansen said...

Emily, thank you for this feedback. All of the information in this summary comes directly from open records posted at the Texas Education Agency site. According to your 2010 District Accountability report, you list 10 schools. If this is incorrect, perhaps the district should correct their reporting with the TEA.