Efficiency Audit Guidelines released
Under HB 3, state law now requires that before a district may conduct an election to seek voter approval for an M&O tax rate, the district must first undergo an efficiency audit according to guidelines established by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), and those audit results must be presented to the public. The LBB released the guidelines that must be used for those audits yesterday.

The guidelines call for the audit to list (for comparison purposes) the district’s data alongside average data from 5-10 peer districts and the state average. The peer districts must be identified, along with the methodology used to identify the peer districts. 

The guidelines state that the audit must include information about:
  • Accountability ratings (district and campus level)
  • School FIRST ratings
  • Student characteristics (ELL, Special Education, etc.)
  • Attendance rates
  • 5-year enrollment
  • District revenue (local M&O retained, state, federal, etc.)
  • Actual operating expenditures (most recent school year)
  • Payroll expenditures
  • General Fund Balance (current through 4 years prior)
  • Staff ratio comparisons
  • Teacher turnover rates
  • Special program characteristics (number/percent students served in GT, CTE, etc.)
  • Budget process
  • Compensation system
  • Operational information
  • Academic information

Additionally, the guidelines include instructions for auditors for the summary of audit results that must be presented to the public. That summary must also include information such as:
  • Date of the proposed election to adopt the district’s M&O rate
  • Dates of previous such elections, rates proposed and results
  • Current and proposed M&O rate compared to peer districts and state average
  • Amount of tax revenue the tax rate change is estimated to generate (as % of district’s operating budget)
  • Estimated dollar-amount increase expected for the average homeowner due to the proposed rate
  • District statement explaining the intended use of the additional tax revenue

According to HB 3, the results of an efficiency audit must be be discussed in an open meeting prior to an election to adopt an M&O tax rate, and the results of the audit must be posted online at least 30 days prior to the election.

New HB 3 Info from TEA
Full-Day Pre-K Waiver
The deadline for the full-day prekindergarten waiver has been extended to April 6, 2020. If your district is not providing the statutorily required full day of prekindergarten, your district must apply for a waiver from that requirement. Click here for more information on the Full-Day Prekindergarten Waiver.

Dyslexia Allotment Intent Code Use Clarification
TEA posted a clarification about the dyslexia allotment program intent code and its impact on maintenance of effort compliance. Click here for more info on that topic.

Formula Transition Grant
There are proposed Commissioner rules available for comment on the TEA website regarding the Formula Transition Grant . The public comment period on that rule is open through March 9.

Increased Recapture?
Based on the latest information from the TEA Summary of Finance (SOF), it seems that recapture statewide will be quite a bit higher than the Agency's earlier estimates. Now that the preliminary results of the property value study have been incorporated into the SOF numbers, statewide recapture increased from $1.9 billion to an expected $2.3 billion. You know, based on how different your own district's numbers are from the SOF data at this point, that we're still quite a ways away from when the dust settles and those numbers are finalized, but for now it seems recapture is on the rise (again).
Gruver ISD

We are regularly profiling different member districts to give you an opportunity to learn something you may have in common or to learn something new and unique about your peer districts.

Superintendent: Wade Callaway

Region: UIL Region 1; ESC 16
Location: North-Central Texas panhandle, sharing a border with Oklahoma. 90 miles north of Amarillo and 75 miles south of Liberal, Kansas.

Student Enrollment: Total enrollment is 449.

School Campus Configuration: Gruver ISD has three separate campuses: Elementary with Pre-K - 4, Junior High has 5-8, and High School serves 9-12.

What are your district's points of pride?
  • Our Farm Scholarship Foundation! 
  • Academic Success: District UIL Champions last year for ALL 3 campuses
  • Athletic Success: Last year…Cross Country advanced to State (back again this year); Football was State Runner-up; Boys Basketball was State Runner-Up; Students advanced to State in both track and tennis as well.
  • Drone Pilot Program; Several Internships offered to HS Students, including: Ag Tech; Physical Therapy; Accounting/Finance
  • We are also beginning a Service Honor Cord for graduating seniors who accrue at least 25 hours of documented community service for each year they are in high school (i.e. 100 hours for those who are here all four years)

What makes your school district/ community unique?
  • Again, our Farm Scholarship Program! It’s all VOLUNTEER and pays for our students’ college, technical training, Master’s Degree (up to 8 semesters)

What challenges does your district face?
  • We have a fantastic district and community. Financial issues are our biggest challenge. We passed a DEFICIT budget LAST year of around -$270,000 as a result of declining property values and the death of ASATR. This year we passed a balanced budget, but it is still tight. 
  • Fortunately, our community overwhelmingly passed a $7.2 million bond on November 5th that will allow us to address some serious needs (e.g. fix our flat roofs, remodel of cafeteria, etc…) 

Upcoming Legislative Hearings
On Wednesday, March 11, the Senate Education Committee will study their interim charge on Adult Education and they will be monitoring implementation of both SB 11 (school safety) and HB 3, specifically reviewing the impact of the repeal of the GT Allotment.

Public testimony will be taken, and the hearing will be broadcast live .
E arly voting for the March 3 Primary Election is runs through 7:00 p.m. Friday. Otherwise, the only other time to vote is on Election Day, March 3.

If you are interested to see exactly who is on the ballot (and which races the Texas Tribune has identified as a Race to Watch), you can take a look at the Trib's 2020 March Primary Ballot .

You can also access information on the specific candidates that appear on your personal ballot at Vote411 , provided through the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
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