Email Express Special Edition
School Finance

May 14, 2019

Dear Lovejoy Community:
 
Over the last 8 years, we have navigated the financial challenges brought about by the State of Texas continually cutting our funding. This next school year will be no different. Since 2011, Lovejoy has experienced a loss of approximately $25 million dollars in total state funding, yet we continue to provide educational excellence to each and every student. With the repeal of Additional State Aide for Tax Reduction (ASATR) in 2017 and with an end to hardship grants for districts dependent upon ASATR funding, scheduled for this June, Lovejoy once again stands to lose millions of dollars in state funding.
 
In the prior years, Lovejoy has taken bold steps to offset the loss of state funding with new sources of revenue, cutting far away from the classroom, cutting as many non-personnel items as possible, and initiating other significant austerity measures. However, during this legislative session, it has become increasingly clear that Lovejoy is being forced to take more painful steps, in addition to those that we have already implemented, in order to balance our budget. The district has exhausted every available solution to avoid a Reduction in Force. However, until a reasonable, necessary, and responsible state funding system is put in place, this is the most fiscally prudent action.

Since more than 80 percent of our operating expenses are personnel costs, it is not possible to make further reductions without eliminating staff positions. As we make these difficult decisions, we realize that there are names, faces, and careers behind these positions, and that makes this process gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, with the loss of more state funding, there is no way to balance our budget without such steps. All staff reductions will have ripple effects that are undeniable, but we have been charged with the impossible task of determining the changes that will have the least impact on our children as a whole, while remaining within available revenues. Maintaining what makes Lovejoy, “Lovejoy” is the ultimate goal and regretfully, to do so requires difficult and agonizing staffing decisions.

These staff reductions will cause some reorganization, which means there will be some re-tooled positions as we restructure for a more cost-effective, leaner model in the impacted areas. Our primary focus, as we face this very difficult challenge, remains to provide quality academic instruction with more limited resources. Make no mistake, staff reductions will have an effect on the Lovejoy ISD. But, as we restructure, the District will strive to make the most effective use of our more-limited resources, and we will continue our efforts to improve student achievement. The staff members impacted by this Reduction in Force will be given every opportunity to re-apply for other open positions in the district and in the event the state legislature provides us with relief, we will make every effort to hire these educators back.

As the budget picture at the state level and the availability of other resources becomes more clear, we will do our very best to minimize the painful effects this Reduction in Force will undoubtedly create. With these impending funding cuts, Lovejoy will be one of the lowest funded (per student) school districts in Collin County and well below the average funding (per student) for school districts across the state.

Our only hope to save these positions is for the Lovejoy community to persuade the ten state legislators who will determine the final funding elements included in the school finance reform bill. To save the Lovejoy programs and the ~30 employees that have been impacted by this Reduction in Force, you need to act now. Please see below for a variety of ways in which you may help.


Send an Email or Letter
Dear Senator ____________,     or       Dear Representative ____________,

We are grateful for the hard work legislators have put into improving the school finance system this session. An increased investment in our students is greatly needed, as is addressing the state’s over-reliance on local school district property taxes. We also thank both chambers for supporting updates to the school finance formulas to ensure additional funding goes to the students who need it most. We ask that, as you develop the final school finance plan, you pay specific attention to “Transition Funding”.

Specifically, use ALL State Funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB3 for the 2019-2020 school year and future years of transition funding.

  • Though the House and Senate propose investing billions of new dollars into Texas public schools, some school districts still lose money under the plans when comparing FY 2018 to FY 2019 and beyond.
  • Because of uncertainties associated with the transition to a new school finance system, the House and Senate both propose transition funding for a limited period of time to prevent any school from losing money.
  • That intention, however, falls short because the transition funding plan does not take into consideration ALL current state funds received by school districts.
  • By not including all state funds in setting transition funding for school districts, and simultaneously compressing the local tax rate for districts, the state is setting up some school districts to LOSE money in the coming years.
  • By ensuring that transition funding considers amounts currently received by a school district under existing Subchapter H, Chapter 42 for the 2018-2019 school year, the state can ensure that no district is forced to make drastic budget cuts under the new school finance system.
  • Lovejoy will LOSE money and receive nearly $1,000 less per ADA than the statewide average. Lovejoy will receive less money than neighboring districts that are 3, 4, or even 10 times larger.
  • At the least, the proposed transition funding language needs to provide a glide path for school districts dependent upon funding under Subchapter H, Chapter 42, and limit funding so that no such district exceeds the statewide average funding per ADA.

Thank you again for your commitment to the students and taxpayers in our community and the great State of Texas.

**Contact information is listed below.

Call Members of the Conference Committee
“Please ask the Senator/Representative to support using all state funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB 3. By not including all state funds in setting Transition Funding for schools, and simultaneously compressing the local tax rate for districts, the State is setting up school districts like Lovejoy to LOSE money next year and beyond. Thank you.”

**Contact information is listed below.

Share Communication Via Twitter
Tweet One: #HB3 expand the transition grant funding so no district loses money #txlege #txed @DanHuberty @TrentAshbyTX @DiegoBernalTX @RepMaryGonzalez @KingForTexas @RepDennisBonnen @txhouseofreps

Tweet Two: #HB3 expand the transition grant funding so no district loses money #txlege #txed @SenLarryTaylor @DonnaCampbellTX @SenatorJaneNelson @KirkPWatson @SenRoyceWest @DanPatrick @Texas_Senate

Tweet Three: Include Hardship Grant funds collected by a school district in 2018-19 for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under #HB3 for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond #txlege #txed @DanHuberty @SenLarryTaylor @RepDennisBonnen @txhouseofreps @DanPatrick @Texas_Senate

Tweet Four: #HB3 By not including all state funds in setting transition funding and simultaneously compressing the local tax rate for districts, the state is setting up some schools to LOSE money in the coming years #txed #txlege @DanHuberty @SenLarryTaylor @txhouseofreps @Texas_Senate

Tweet Five: #HB3 By ensuring Transition Funding reflects amounts schools currently receive under existing Subchapter H, Chapter 42 for the 2018-2019 school year, the state can ensure that no district is forced to make drastic budget cuts under #HB3. #txed #txlege @DanHuberty @SenLarryTaylor

Tweet Six: #HB3 Transition Funding language must provide a glide path for schools dependent upon funding under Subchapter H, Chapter 42, and limit funding so that no such district exceeds the statewide average funding per ADA. #txed #txlege @DanHuberty @SenLarryTaylor

**Contact information is listed below.

Share Communication Via Facebook and/or LinkedIn
Although House Bill 3 (HB 3) is said to yield a positive result for many districts across the state, for Lovejoy ISD it is substantially negative. With the repeal of ASATR in 2017, and the repeal of Hardship Grants in 2019, Lovejoy ISD is poised to lose $3,000,000 + in state funding for the 2019-2020 school year. Past budget cuts due to legislative shortfalls have been made as far away from the students as possible. The district has exhausted every available solution to avoid cutting from inside the classrooms; but unfortunately, the remaining budget cuts will directly impact staff.

While it is an incredibly difficult decision to reduce staff, the district must undertake programmatic restructuring in order to operate within available revenues from the State. As a result of the loss of State funding from ASATR and Hardship Grants, Lovejoy will be one of the lowest per student funded school districts in Collin County and well below the average across the state. There are five Senators and five Representatives that will make the final determination on Lovejoy’s level of State funding. With your help, we are hopeful to be able to save the ~ 30 employees that have been cut for 2019-2020 school year.

**Contact information is listed below.

Communicate With Our State Senator Angela Paxton
Sample Phone Call to Senator Paxton:
Senator Paxton’s Office 512.463.0108

“I am calling to thank Senator Paxton for her support of Lovejoy ISD and advocating for our district from the potential negative impact of House Bill 3. Please tell the Senator to continue to support using all state funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB 3. Without this Transition Funding, Lovejoy will LOSE money and receive nearly $1,000 less per student than the statewide average. Lovejoy will receive less money than neighboring districts and be one of the lowest funded districts in Senate District 8. Thank you.”


Sample Email to Senator Paxton:
angela.paxton@senate.texas.gov

Dear Senator Paxton,

Thank you for continuing to advocate for the students, staff, and community of Lovejoy ISD. We are aware and appreciate your efforts to protect the schools in your Senate District from the potential negative impacts of HB3. Please continue to support Lovejoy by requesting the HB3 conference committee members to use all state funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB3.

Over the last 8 years, we have navigated the financial challenges brought about by the State of Texas continually cutting our funding. This next school year will be no different. Since 2011, Lovejoy has been cut ~ $25 million dollars in total funding, yet we continue to provide educational excellence to each and every student. With the repeal of Additional State Aide for Tax Reduction (ASATR) in 2017 and with an end to Hardship Grants for district’s dependent upon ASATR funding, scheduled for this June, Lovejoy once again stands to lose millions of dollars in state funding.

In the prior years, Lovejoy has taken bold steps to offset the loss of state funding with new sources of revenue, cutting far away from the classroom, cutting as many non-personnel items as possible, and initiating other significant austerity measures. However, during this legislative session, it has become increasingly clear that Lovejoy is being forced to take more painful steps, in addition to those that we have already implemented, in order to balance our budget. The district has exhausted every available solution to avoid a Reduction in Force. However, this past week ~30 positions were eliminated for the next school year due to the anticipated loss in state funding.

Our only hope are the conferees of the HB3 conference committee uses all state funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB3. This will allow districts to transition from the already reduced funding levels without further harm to our ability to continue investing in our student’s success.

Thank you again for your commitment to students and taxpayers in our community.

Contact Information
Less than two weeks remain in the legislative session. Please contact the Legislators listed below “ to support using all state funds, including Hardship Grant funds, collected by a school district in the 2018-2019 school year for purposes of calculating the Transition Grant funding under HB 3”.




HOUSE BILL 3 CONFEREES
THE TEXAS SENATE MEMBERS

SENATOR LARRY TAYLOR, CHAIR (R-Friendswood)
The Honorable Larry Taylor
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711 
(512) 463-0111  (TEL)
@SenLarryTaylor
 
 
SENATOR DONNA CAMPBELL (R-New Braunfels)
The Honorable Donna Campbell
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-0125  (TEL)
@DonnaCampbellTX
 
 
SENATOR JANE NELSON (R-Flower Mound)
The Honorable Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-0112 (TEL)
@SenatorJaneNelson

 
SENATOR KIRK WATSON (D-Austin)
The Honorable Kirk Watson
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-0114  (TEL)
@KirkPWatson
 
 
SENATOR ROYCE WEST (D-Dallas)
The Honorable Royce West
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-0123  (TEL)
@SenRoyceWest
 
 
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DAN PATRICK (R-Houston)
The Honorable Dan Patrick
P.O. Box 12068
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-0001  (TEL)
@LtGovTX
@DanPatrick
https://www.facebook.com/ltgovtx



HOUSE BILL 3 CONFEREES
TEXAS HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES MEMBERS

REPRESENTATIVE DAN HUBERTY, CHAIR (R-HUMBLE)
The Honorable Dan Huberty
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0520 (TEL)
@DanHuberty
 
 
 
REPRESENTATIVE TRENT ASHBY (R-LUFKIN)
The Honorable Trent Ashby
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0508 (TEL)
@TrentAshbyTX
 
 
REPRESENTATIVE DIEGO BERNAL (D-SAN ANTONIO)
The Honorable Diego Bernal
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0532 (TEL)
@DiegoBernalTX
 
 
REPRESENTATIVE MARY GONZALEZ (D-CLINT)
The Honorable Mary Gonzalez
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0613 (TEL)
@RepMaryGonzalez
 
 
REPRESENTATIVE KEN KING (R-CANADIAN)
The Honorable Ken King
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0613 (TEL)
@KingForTexas
 
 
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE DENNIS BONNEN (R-ANGLETON)
The Honorable Dennis Bonnen
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-3000 (TEL)
@RepDennisBonnen

Thank You
Thank you for your continued support of Lovejoy ISD.
 
With respect and admiration,
Dr. Dennis Womack
Interim Superintendent

Stay Connected

Are you following the district on Twitter ? Have you liked us on Facebook ? Join us on social media for news and announcements.
 
Love Where You Learn