Thanks to all who attended our amazing Teacher of the Year dinner on Friday evening! It was a phenomenal event and it was great to see so many smiles and a few “tears of joy” as folks enjoyed the well-deserved accolades. I want to send a special thanks to our Public Relations team. They work very hard each year to organize the Teacher of the Year event and all the activities leading up to the big night. We could not do this without all of their efforts. Of course our Teachers of the Year were the big stars of the evening and we hope they enjoyed this special night. We can’t do or say enough for our awesome teachers, but we hope that this special evening let each of you know how important you are to our district’s success. I’d also like to personally congratulate Don Belknap and Kristina Mills, EPISD’s Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year. Don is a second year teacher at Lundy Elementary School, who joined the teaching ranks after a successful business career and serving as a volunteer for many years with EPISD. Kristina started in EPISD as a substitute hourly employee and worked in a variety of clerical positions until she earned her degree and started teaching eight years ago at Chapin High School. We wish them both well as they compete in the Region 19 Teacher of the Year competition this summer. Very much looking forward to next year’s event!!
A special thanks to all our teachers and principals who volunteered their time for multiple afternoon/evening meetings to review draft #1 of the budget. In addition to our 10 community presentations, we have conducted 6 principals meetings and 4 teacher meetings. We have also received a lot of very good suggestions from teachers via email and we are reviewing all of these comments.
I also want to thank everyone for their patience as we openly struggle with our budget challenges. Many folks are concerned about items we are discussing as we consider multiple options to eliminate our deficit. It is important that everyone understand that building a budget (especially following a deficit year and in a 3 year declining enrollment situation) is a tedious process which will take 2 or 3 drafts before we arrive at final revenue and expenditure numbers. In the past, it is my understanding that the public was not involved in the early drafts of the budget; therefore, we believe that much of the confusion is based on increased involvement by the public earlier in the budget development process. We appreciate and acknowledge the concerns, but we are committed to public discussions as we work openly to solve the deficit. Please be patient as we consider options and work to complete draft #2 in the next 2 weeks. Once we complete draft #2 and conduct an open meeting with the Board to review, we will ask for more public input regarding the proposed reductions. Subsequently, we will take all the input and plan on draft #3 for the final draft. Thank you for your service and for all you do for our students. It has not been easy as we have had to focus almost exclusively on the budget for a few weeks, but we will balance the budget and get back on track to building one of the best districts in Texas! In future years, as we will closely monitor enrollment, we do not expect this much difficulty during the budget planning season.