HISD redistributes some Vanguard funding in 2014-15 budget proposal

According its recent budget proposal, The Houston Independent School District will eliminate local magnet funding for its Vanguard schools that serve gifted and talented students in the district.

The $3 million will be redistributed among zoned non-magnet schools to expand programming.

“There are some schools that don’t receive any funding and we would really like to do is find a way to equalize.” District Spokesperson Sheelah Reed told ABC 13 News on May 8.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Vanguard schools would keep the $400 per pupil they receive from the state every year for gifted and talented students, and HISD would continue to pay for busing students who attend Vanguard schools.

“The Vanguard Programs aren’t going away,” Reed emphasized.

Other magnet funding would be standardized under the proposal, with Montessori schools receiving $350 per student and International Baccalaureate programs receiving an extra $50 per student.

Locally, Lanier Middle School would lose about $53,000 in funding for its Vanguard program under the move, a reduction from $121,000 to $68,000.

Carnegie Vangaurd’s High School’s Parent Teacher Organization has estimated that the school will lose nearly $390,000 in annual funding under the proposal.[3]

The Board, administration and public will continue to discuss budget proposals until final approval of the budget set for the June 19 meeting.

Other major proposals include standardizing schedules across the district to save $1 million annually and reducing funding for the district’s Aspire Program, which provides bonuses for teachers whose students show above-average progress on standardized exams, by $6 million from $20 million to $14 million. The Aspire money would be used to pay first-year teachers a higher salary to compete with recent raises handed out by suburban districts like Katy. Currently a first-year teacher at HISD makes less than $47,000 a year in comparison to $50,000 in Katy.