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This paper aims to analyze how the funds of the Houston ISD and Galena Park ISD were distributed in the years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. Since actual financial data is not always available, budgeted financial data will be used. The comparison examines the costliest and the cheapest functions of the districts.
TARP Budget Data for Houston ISD: years 2014-2015/2015-2016
Any budget planning has to be carefully and thoroughly developed, even if one talks about the budget of a small family. As to schools and districts, financial budgeting is directly linked to their success and academic performance of the pupils. In the budget plan of years 2016-2017, the state of Texas has marked the Houston ISD as ‘property wealthy,’ so this will result in drastic losses for the district schools – $257 million in local taxes (Ortiz, 2016, para. 2).
The website of Texas Education Agency does not provide the actual financial data for Houston ISD for the years 2016-2017, so in order to evaluate it, budgeted financial data will be used. Total revenue from the general fund was $1,803,537,464, i.e. $8,393 per student; the budgeted financial data from the years 2014-2015 states that total revenue from the fund was $1,651,013,089; actual financial data of the same years shows other results: $1,756,799,489, i.e. $8,192 per student (Texas Education Agency, 2015b).
The comparison of the data shows that total revenue per student has grown. In the years 2015-2016 $259,237,111 was received from the state, $5,752,233 from federal revenues; actual data from the years 2015-2016 shows that state revenues covered $345,456,076, and federal revenues covered $7,255,184 – for some reason, the revenues in the recent years have decreased (Texas Education Agency, 2016a). The expenditures, both by object and function, have increased compared to the years 2014-2015: $1,593,590,156 vs. $1,940,397,248; it means that expenditures of every student were bigger than the revenues, according to the table of the Texas Education Agency (2016a).
This could be explained by the fact that the Houston Independent School District took part in the Texas Trio Project that was probably time- and money-consuming, and required special staff training (Texas Education Agency, 2016a). The tables show that the information about money budgeted for instructions and staff development in the years 2014-2015 does not correspond to the actual financial data from the same years; less money than planned was spent on instruction and staff (Texas Education Agency, 2015a).
A conclusion can be drawn that the studying process could also suffer from these cuts; although the financial data from the years 2015-2016 states that more money will be spent on staff and instruction, there is no actual data about the expenditures, so it is not possible to assume if there will be (or were) any cuts this year. The services that have the smallest expenditures are ‘Food’ ($6,318), “Social Work Services” ($2,250,302), and ‘Instructional Res/Media” ($6,795,482).
In my opinion, instruction resources should not undergo serious cuts because this will certainly influence the academic performance of the pupils, as well as limit their access to information. The costly functions of the district include ‘School Leadership’ ($138,798,586), ‘Plant Maint/Operation’ ($195,534,991), and ‘Data Processing Services’ ($109,735,269) (Texas Education Agency, 2016a); although it is clear that these functions demand professionals or certain expensive equipment, the possibility of cutting the expenditures in favor of social services or instruction recourses still could be considered by the administration of the District.
Plus, the cuts in the 2016-2017 budget will eliminate 80 administrative positions, reduce the teachers’ bonuses, and close the Apollo 20 program that aimed to prepare future students for successful performance in college (Ortiz, 2016, para. 4). The analysis of the data shows that every year the Houston ISD has to endure serious cuts in education programs; the performance of the pupils will definitely be influenced by these cuts.
TARP Budget Data for Galena Park ISD: years 2014-2015/2015-2016
There is no actual financial data from the years 2015-2016 for Galena Park ISD, so budgeted financial data will be used. The comparison of the data shows that the total revenue of Galena Park ISD in the years 2014-2015 was bigger than in 2015-2016: $ 211,801,281 vs. $198,203,621 (Texas Education Agency, 2016b); state revenue also covered more funds in the previous years: $118,047,029 vs. $102,963,169 (Texas Education Agency, 2016b).
This could be the result of cuts that the Houston ISD endured; the data about the expenditures of Galena Park ISD matches the data of Houston ISD: the costliest functions are ‘Instruction’ ($112,999,591), ‘School Leadership’ ($13,290,396), and ‘Plant Maint/Operation’ ($24,471,007) (Texas Education Agency, 2016c). ‘Food’ is again one of the cheapest functions, but, compared to the years 2014-2015 (where the function’s expenditures are cited as 0), in the years 2015-2016, $1,444 was spent on food (Texas Education Agency, 2016c).
The smallest expenditures are linked to the same services as in the Houston ISD: ‘Food,’ ‘Instructional/Res Media,’ and ‘Social Work Services’; the cuts, nevertheless, could be explained by the grants for teachers ($25,000) provided by the District (Texas Education Agency, 2016c). It should be noted that other services that were limited in their budget were ‘Health Services’ and ‘Curriculum/Staff Develop’; it is a concerning trend when less and less money is spent on the services that control the pupils’ and staff’s wellbeing and development of the schools. It seems that a reevaluation of the budget is necessary in order to preserve the quality and safety of the learning process.
Texas Education Agency. (2015a). 2014-2015 Budgeted Financial data. Totals for Houston ISD. Web.
Texas Education Agency. (2015b). 2014-2015 Actual Financial data. Totals for Houston ISD. Web.
Texas Education Agency. (2016a). 2015-2016 Budgeted Financial data. Totals for Houston ISD. Web.
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Texas Education Agency. (2016b). 2014-2015 Actual Financial data. Totals for Galena Park ISD. Web.
Texas Education Agency. (2016c). 2015-2016 Budgeted Financial data. Totals for Galena Park ISD. Web.
Ortiz, A. (2016). HISD Board Approves 2016-2017 Budget With 84 Million In Cuts. Web.