Budget Briefs: Task Force Refocuses, Reviews Guiding Principles

Piggy bank/money illustration

The Budget Stabilization Task Force used its Aug. 29 meeting as a time to refocus on its charge and review guiding principles prior to moving forward with developing its recommendations. The group has reviewed district spending and is beginning to identify strategies to close the budget deficit, following the Board of Trustees' approval of the latest budget that includes a $29 million dip into reserves. The district is also expected to have even greater budget shortfalls in the future.

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

  1. The task force took a moment in the process to step back and openly discuss the challenges of reaching some form of consensus around some form of consensus on how to invest the district's limited resources. After reviewing feedback from the group, the BSTF tri-chairs determined the preferred path forward is for the district to provide a menu of budget options as a starting point for deliberations. Staff will provide this list at the next meeting on Sept. 12 when members will divide into work groups to do a preliminary round of vetting.
  2. Superintendent Paul Cruz visited the task force and took part in the conversation about the district’s strategic planning. In an effort to reinvent the urban school experience, AISD campuses must be the unit of change, he explained. The core of the budget is student learning and Cruz implored the task force to embrace a growth mindset and think about how AISDcan continue to innovate and invest in the future success of its students despite the limited funds.
  3. The task force learned more about how its recommendations would fit into the larger budget process. Chief of Business and Operations Nicole Conley Johnson provided an engagement timeline for budget planning and assured the task force that their recommendations will be included with input from campus staff, district leadership and the community-at-large. All BSTF recommendations will ultimately be submitted to Cruz, who will review the findings and recommend any action to the board of trustees.

Learn more about the presentations, questions and discussion during the meeting at the BSTF website.