HISD budget back on the table with no changes

Houston ISD Board of Trustees has just five days left to agree on a budget for the upcoming school year. State law mandates the district has to come up with a plan by June 30th. 

On Tuesday, interim superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan stood by the same recommendation for teacher and staff raises that failed to pass in a 6-3 vote last week. 

Dr. Lathan said that despite the criticism received by board members who voted against the proposal last week, she and the administration stresses how important it is for the district to pass a balanced budget. Lathan said it would be the first time in several years. 

Under the current proposal, teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors would receive somewhere between a 3.5% to 8% raise depending on their years of experience. 

However, support staff like custodians and food service workers will not be granted a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, despite harsh criticism and calls from some board members last week to include that in the plan. 

Additionally, the plan will allow for those who make $75,000 or more a year to get raises, despite for calls to exclude those employees from receiving raises. 

Dr. Lathan said the plan will allow the district to be in compliance with House Bill 3, which provides more than $6.5 billion allocated by the state to pay for improvements to public education and compensation for educators.

However, Lathan acknowledges that failure to pass the budget could result in a total district-wide shutdown.  

"This has never happened from my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong Dr. Barajas and our team, but I mean, our district would basically shut down. I'm very concerned so this is not something we're taking lightly, but we also want to present a balanced budget," Lathan said.