SPECIAL EDITION - EMAIL EXPRESS
A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
Dear Lovejoy Community:
Did the legislature make a decision on ASATR (Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction) funding?
No, the inaction of the Texas Legislature has pushed Lovejoy ISD over the fiscal cliff, and we are scheduled to lose almost $6 million in state money. Our funding went down the drain because the Texas Senate and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick would not move forward with a school finance bill unless it included a voucher proposal (vouchers would allow parents to use state money for private school tuition). The Texas House had no interest in allowing state dollars to flow to private schools; therefore, no school finance bill was passed.
How much money will Lovejoy ISD lose on a per pupil basis?
A loss of $6 million will mean we have approximately $1,400 less to spend per student. My communication on Friday affirmed Lovejoy has developed a contingency plan for this next year which will include fees for services our parents will pay, additional revenue from tuition and Pre-K programs, additional revenue from some other innovative areas, and the potential use of a portion of our fund balance. The commitment from our Board of Trustees and the administration is to ensure our Lovejoy students continue to excel with the same programs and staffing which have come to define the Lovejoy Way.
How much is $6 million of the total district operating budget?
$6 million is 16% of our total budget. As you know, 82% of our budget is personnel (primarily teachers), 11% is non-discretionary costs such as utilities and other mandatory costs of doing business, which leaves approximately 7% of discretionary costs, such as campus-controlled budgets. If our district were to cut costs to cover what the legislature has taken away, it would require us to lay off staff. To put this in perspective, we would have to eliminate almost 1/3 of our teaching staff to reach a savings of $6 million. As you see, the importance of finding other ways to fund our budget to protect the Lovejoy programs was critical. There will be no layoffs.
Is there anything we can do at this point?
Yes, our only avenue for the legislature to consider restoring ASATR funding lies in the hands of Governor Greg Abbott.
The Governor can call a special session and include ASATR in the call for the special session. It is my understanding the Lt. Governor is interested in a special session to consider vouchers. If there is a special session, the taxpayer communities of the approximately 200 districts currently receiving ASATR funds must communicate to Governor Abbott to affirm the importance of retaining the ASATR funding we have been receiving since 2006 when the legislature compressed tax rates and promised to keep all districts whole through ASATR funds.
One of the many blessings we enjoy in Lovejoy is a community focused on and supportive of education. If you have any direct or indirect connections to Governor Abbott, please leverage those connections to communicate the critical importance of continuing ASATR funding for Lovejoy ISD and the other ASATR districts in Texas.
How do I communicate with the Governor's Office?
The Governor will likely make a decision regarding a special session this week. Time is of the essence. Please contact the Governor's office regarding the importance of ASATR for the Lovejoy district, and ask that ASATR be included in a special session since the legislature was unable or unwilling to resolve the ASATR issue during the regular session.
We are on a short timeline. You may contact the Governor in one of the following ways:
Send a Message via Facebook:
Online Contact Form for the Governor's Office:
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.