Montgomery ISD trustees adopt balanced budget for fiscal year 2021-22

Board also approves Superintendent’s appointment of district’s next Executive Director of Specialized Learning

Montgomery ISD trustees adopted the district’s 2021-22 Fiscal Year budget during a special board meeting on Tuesday, June 29.

The balanced budget includes $79.5 M in district general fund revenues and $79.3 M in spending for the district’s upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2021. Throughout the 2020-21 school year, Superintendent Heath Morrison and Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Kris Lynn held a series of town hall meetings and discussions with district staff and stakeholders to solicit feedback from the public and provide updates during the development of the budget.

“The process for developing this budget began as soon as I joined Montgomery ISD as superintendent last summer,” Morrison said. “The board and community made a clear charge to balance the district’s spending and identify the funds necessary to improve employee salaries. This budget accomplishes both.”

Trustees also approved $4.6 M in student nutrition fund spending ($4.7 M in revenues) and $23.6 M in debt service fund spending ($24.1 M in revenues) for FY 2021-22. A school district’s debt service fund pays principal and interest for district debt used for new facilities and facility upgrades.

“This budget reflects the priorities of our community,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “Additionally, the budget was developed throughout the past year in an open process with widespread stakeholder input. The work to balance our district budget has been a group effort that was successful thanks to the many people in our district committed to operating in a more efficient manner.”

The adoption of the FY 2021-22 budget finalizes the raises approved by trustees in a new district compensation plan, which featured $3.8 M in salary and stipend increases across all employee groups. In April, trustees approved an additional 5% raise for teachers and 3% raise for all other employees. This raise was on top an across-the-board 2% raise authorized by the board in October 2020. From the 2020-21 school year to the start of the 2021-22 school year, current Montgomery ISD teachers will have received an approximate 7% total pay increase, or a total of $4,055, with all other employee groups receiving a 5% total raise. A first-year teacher entering Montgomery ISD will now have a starting salary of $54,450. The previous salary for a first-year teacher in Montgomery ISD was $51,000. 

“Developing a school district budget should be a transparent and collaborative process, not one single event,” Board Vice-President Gary Hammons said. “I’m very pleased that we have adopted a balanced budget for the next fiscal year that prioritizes teacher salaries.”

During the meeting, trustees also approved Morrison’s selection of Ms. Cortney Clover as the district’s next Executive Director of Specialized Learning. Clover holds 23 years of experience in public education, with 10 in special education leadership. Before joining Montgomery ISD, Clover served in Little Elm ISD and Brazosport ISD. Clover has extensive knowledge and experience in special education and specialized instruction, having taught in specialized behavior programs, life skills classrooms, reading language arts inclusion, co-teach, & resource.

“Ensuring the educational needs of all students are met should always be a top priority for us as a district,” Trustee Linda Porten said. “I’m excited about the experience, vision and leadership Ms. Clover will bring to our district’s special education programs to ensure all of our learners in Montgomery ISD are thriving.”

Trustees also approved the district’s recommendation to partner with K-12 Insight to conduct stakeholder engagement and satisfaction surveying for key performance indicator monitoring as part of the district’s “Pathway to Premier” strategic plan. K-12 Insight is a comprehensive research-based consulting company with more than 15 years of experience working with school district administrators across the nation. The national K-12 education partner specializes in collaborating with school districts to strengthen relationships with internal and external stakeholders.