Budget Briefs: Budget Stabilization Task Force Begins Work

The Budget Stabilization Task Force convened for its first meeting June 25, beginning a months-long process to review district spending and identify creative strategies to close the budget deficit.

Here are three things to know as the task force moves forward.

Begin With the End in Mind

The 31-member task force, comprised of Austin ISD staff, parents, community members and a high school student, set standards for decision making and reviewed its charge during the first two-hour meeting.

The district’s finance team, led by Chief of Business and Operations Nicole Conley Johnson, spoke to the task force and outlined the importance of a community-driven process. Bringing in new perspectives is key to looking at data differently and providing innovative ways to support AISD students, Conley Johnson said.

The task force, after discussion, voted to select tri-chairs to serve as leaders of the advisory body. Five individuals—two AISD staff members and three community members—expressed interest in serving. The task force will vote electronically prior to the next meeting to select the tri-chairs.

The task force discussed potential items to include on its roadmap—a prospective calendar for discussion items. The process currently consists of four meeting dates. However, additional meetings and presentations could be added. Future meetings dates will be July 16, July 30 and Aug. 15. All meetings will be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Austin ISD Board Room.

Key themes from the discussion included thoughtfully investing in student success, the need to explore new revenue sources and the desire to keep equity at the forefront of budgetary options and solutions.

Stay Engaged

AISD will be hosting an ongoing online message board surrounding the Budget Stabilization Task Force throughout the process on MindMixer. Task force members, as well as AISD staff, will be monitoring the discussion to hear feedback from the AISD community.

The first question is, “What topics would you like to see the Budget Stabilization task force explore this summer?” Join the conversation and stay engaged as the budget conversations move forward.

The task force’s work and recommendations are the beginning of extended community engagement and outreach that will occur throughout the next year. Opportunities for public comment will be available at each BSTF meeting. Community members can sign up for public comment in-person 30 minutes prior to the meeting.

Next Steps

The next BSTF meeting will be held July 16, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Austin ISD Board Room, 1111. W. Sixth St. The AISD finance team will provide the task force with an introduction to school finance and the district’s fiscal forecast in an effort to provide baseline data on the budget. The task force will also participate in an interactive activity to identify areas to research in the coming months.

Budget Briefs is provided by of the Department of Communications and Community Engagement in an effort to enhance transparency during the Budget Stabilization Task Force process. Summaries of the meetings will be shared following each meeting. More information, including meeting minutes and materials, can be found at the BSTF website.