Ahead of the 2022-23 school year, Eanes ISD Superintendent Jeff Arnett reported that the school district was nearly fully staffed, with the exception of a few special education positions and bus drivers. The Eanes Education Foundation funded his 55 teaching positions and donated his $2.75 million to school districts in May. EEF funds are included in district budget calculations along with funds from state and other sources of income.
“We often hear that other districts have a very difficult time filling large numbers of positions, but we feel very lucky and will be almost fully staffed at the start of the new school year. I’ve put a lot of effort into it,” said Arnett.
The EEF is the district’s funding arm, said Executive Director Dana Meserole DeLorenzo. Created in 1991, the foundation was created in response to Senate Bill 351, the state’s first attempt to equalize funding for schools.
When SB 351 was declared unconstitutional, the Texas legislature introduced a recapture system in 1993. The program takes surplus income from wealthy districts and redistributes it to districts that cannot cover their operating costs through the collection of local taxes. Can be kept based on registration and attendance. Any remaining taxes collected from homeowners, beyond the amount necessary for basic operations, are recovered by the state. Under recovery, 64% of property taxes collected in the EISD will be returned to the state, he said.
“What the Eins Education Foundation does is basically what the state of Texas believes we deserve and the excellence our parents think our children should have. It’s about bridging the gap between education and education,” said Meceror DeLorenzo.
The school district estimates that the EISD will collect $194.2 million in property tax revenues for 2022-23. Of this amount, $124.8 million will be collected by the state.
As of June, the foundation has raised more than $28.5 million to fund more than 576 teachers since 2004, according to Meserole DeLorenzo.
The Foundation supports districts through donations, corporate sponsorships, and events including teacher funds. From October 1st he will be held until November. 18, with Teacher Fun Run 5K on November 5th. The nonprofit also hosts his annual gala in February.
“Our community has a clear understanding of our mission and believes in our actions and impact on the district,” said Meserole DeLorenzo. “The strength of a community is only the number of schools it has.”
The state uses a set of formulas to calculate how much money schools receive per student. EISD Chief Financial Officer Chris Scott said the basic quota per student was $6,160 for 2019-2020, not adjusted for changes in local real estate values or inflation. Hmm.
The longer the state does not increase the base allocation, the more money the state will get back. He said this is because local property values are rising while the school’s operating funds remain unchanged.
Board member Ellen Balthazar said at a summer meeting that if the next Texas legislative session does not increase funding from the state, which will take place January-May 2023, the district will face a very costly education. We have a model and have expressed that it will need to be adjusted.
EEF’s funding goals continue to grow with increased recapture payments and changes to the basic quota per student. From 2022 to his 2023, the nonprofit aims to raise at least $3 million for the district, said Meceror DeLorenzo.
In addition to $2.75 million in staff salaries, the EEF also donated a $225,000 “EEF Board Endowment” to be distributed to all EISD educators. Funds raised beyond her $3 million goal will be used for similar gifts to teachers next year, she said.
“I believe this year will be the best year yet, because our community is all rallying around teachers who deserve the best,” said Meserole DeLorenzo.