Superintendent's Message

Welcome to Burnet CISD. Located in the Hill Country, Burnet CISD is spread out over 700 square miles and serves 3,200 students in 6 campuses. Burnet CISD has a rich history of excellence in academics and extracurricular activities, and is committed to CRAFTING the FUTURE. That future is as unique as each of our students. For some that means preparing them for college or a trade school, while others it means preparing them to earn a certification or enter the workforce with demonstrable skills. Our students are excelling inside the classroom and outside the classroom. I am proud to be the superintendent of Burnet CISD and to be a member of this wonderful community. You will find that there is a real sense of care and community within the District. If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.
To find out more about Keith McBurnett, click HERE.
September 5, 2023

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Today is reserved for professional development and planning, with students returning tomorrow. The next scheduled professional development/planning day is September 5.


As a reminder, all campuses will be testing the District’s panic alarm system today. The schedule is listed below, and you will be asked to complete a form if your phone does NOT alert during the test. The link to the form will be sent by your principal shortly before the test.


Quest/BMS 8:10 a.m.

Bertram 8:20 a.m.

RJ Richey 11:45 a.m.

BHS 1:00 p.m.

Shady Grove 3:30 p.m.


I am meeting with the Highland Lakes Retired Teachers Association this afternoon to give them an update on Burnet CISD. Our retired teachers are strong advocates for education, and work to ensure that the teacher retirement system (TRS) is healthy and will provide benefits for years to come. Due to their strong advocacy efforts during the 88th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature appropriated revenue designated for a TRS retiree cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Texas voters will need to vote FOR a constitutional amendment authorizing this much-needed COLA during the upcoming November 7 Election. I will be voting for Prop 9 to support our retired teachers because no public-school retiree since 9/1/2004 has ever received a cost-of-living adjustment, and it won’t create a tax increase. The Texas Legislature has already set aside the funds to make this happen with voter approval. Prop 9 is one of 14 state constitutional amendments up for approval on November 7. If you are not registered to vote, you can find out how to register at


Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link:

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Julie Malina, Bertram Elementary

“Mrs. Malina is an absolutely amazing teacher; she has gone way above and beyond for her students I am truly grateful my child has her for a teacher this year.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kamri Corbin, Burnet High School

“Kamri is new to the profession and I am so impressed with her! We all know how hard the beginning of the year is with establishing expectations and norms, learning names, etc. She is doing so well with all of that! I'm so proud of her and so glad to have her on our team!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Cora Warwick, Burnet High School

“Cora has been so helpful! I approached her for help with a classroom project and she didn't hesitate to help! Her culinary classes are awesome and they're doing great things! I am thankful to have her as part of BHS.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Justin White, Burnet Middle School

“Justin White is an extremely gifted behavioral specialist and he blesses BCISD every day by sharing his plethora of gifts and talents. That's true, but more important, in my opinion, is how generously he gives his heart to some of the toughest students in our District. Justin genuinely loves every student he serves. He consistently models starting strong and finishing stronger.” 


I hope everyone has a great short week ahead!

August 28, 2023

Good evening! Thank you for making the first two weeks of school great for our students! There is so much evidence that even on day one our staff has followed Stephen Covey’s advice of remembering, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” One “main thing” witnessed across the District last week were the many classes that spent time collaborating on early parts of classroom mission statements that include the treatment of others as a component of personal leadership. Keep up the great work!


With the plethora of things you need to do daily, the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 4 will allow you to rest and recharge over an extended weekend. You can enjoy the time fully knowing that you will have time on Tuesday, September 4 to plan and refine for the remainder for the six weeks grading period.


Our enrollment has continued to increase and is at 3,282 students as of today, which is close to matching the enrollment this same time last year, but it is lagging behind our budgeted enrollment of 3,305 students. Since the District's funding is based on enrollment, the smaller, actual enrollment (33 fewer students) causes a reduction in revenue. We will continue to monitor enrollment closely, and more importantly encourage students to attend school every day when they are well enough to attend. The District’s attendance rate during the first week of school was 96.7% compared to 93.3% for all of last school year. We would love to see that trend continue throughout the school year. Not only does strong attendance result in better student learning, but the District also does not lose valuable funding. The difference in funding between 93.3% and 96.7% for Burnet CISD is approximately $1,000,000.


Thank you for Starting Strong! Your work now will play off as we transition to Staying Strong, which as I mentioned during Convocation is the most challenging part of the school year.

The Board of Trustees met on August 28, 2023 for their regular August Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.


The Board Meeting in August always has a strong focus on budget and tax rate with the new fiscal year beginning on September 1 of each year. The August Meeting kicked off with a Budget and Proposed Tax Rate Hearing being presented by CFO Clay Goehring.


In six different, but inter-connected actions, the Board approved a $42.2 million budget for the 2023-2024 school year, and a tax rate of $0.8742 to support the budget, which is 18.54 cents lower than the 2022-2023 tax rate. This approval represents the 8th year in a row of the Board voting to lower the tax rate. Between 2015 and 2023, the Board of Trustees has lowered the tax rate by over 39 cents, resulting in the lowest tax rate in the District's history and also ranking Burnet CISD as the second-lowest tax rate among area school districts. The overall budget decreased for a couple reasons.  The most significant being a reduction in recapture.  The legislature's property tax relief bill delivered much needed property tax relief to the taxpayers of Burnet CISD.  This reduction in tax collections was offset by a reduction in recapture that will be paid to the State.  While the State did deliver on the goal of property tax relief, they did not deliver any new money to schools.  Because of this, the District was forced to make $1.2 million in reductions to be able to support a 2% pay raise for all staff.   Even with the significant reductions, the Board still adopted a budget with a ($400K) deficit.


While Burnet CISD has fund balance available to support this deficit, school districts cannot operate year after year with a deficit budget.  But Burnet CISD, along with many other Districts across the State, are forced to live this reality this year.  The legislator must do something, if as expected, they re-gather for another special session this fall.  Schools across the State are depending on new money being invested in Texas Public Schools.


In another move that puts a significant strain on the budget, the Board approved another 3-year renewal of the District's property casualty insurance.  The annual cost for the renewal is $764,314 which is an increase of $285K.  The insurance premium market has been in an unbelievably inflationary status for the past 5 years and Burnet CISD felt the impact this year. 


This increase is included in the annual budget.  The Board also approved budget amendments and the assignment of fund balance to close out the current fiscal year on August 31.


Mr. Goehring provided the District financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report.


Francis Zordilla with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:


The District received results from the STAAR tests administered last spring. The District saw growth in several grade levels and subjects compared to last year. We still have much work to do; although BCISD saw growth in achievement across many program areas, the State on average saw even more growth, causing the improved pass-rates to still be at or below State averages in grades 3-8.


  • BCISD saw increases in the passing rate from 2022 to 2023 in 13 out of 20 tested areas.
  • The overall passing rate for all-grades Math increased by 1%, and the all-grades Reading and Language Arts (RLA) passing rate held steady even though the test changed dramatically.
  • Two areas (5th Math and 6th RLA) showed double-digit gains in passing rates over the same tested area last year.
  • The Class of 2026 (who were freshmen in 2022-23) made double-digit gains in both their Math and RLA passing rates for the second consecutive year.
  • The Classes of 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, and 2030 all improved their cohort passing rates on RLA tests.


These areas are worthy of celebration, but overall, we were still below State averages in most areas. Dr. Jones shared the urgency that our teacher teams continue to be supported in creating instructional plans that align to the content and thinking levels required by the State standards. Continuing with the same plans used in past years will generally not produce opportunities for students to have productive struggles with high academic expectations. At the same time, we know that students need encouragement and supportive structures to be confident in pushing through the challenge of new learning.


In addition to concern about the indications given by scores themselves, Dr. Jones spoke about the accountability rating implications. TEA has already stated that due to an “A-F Refresh,” districts should expect to see letter-grade ratings drop even if student performance improves. TEA’s stated goal is to have “average” performance generally be rated a “C” rather than a “B.” Knowing that BCISD is below average in many areas gives us great concern for the letter-grade ratings that will be released in September.


With the changes that resulted from the 88th Legislative Session that were either effective immediately or effective September 1st, the Administration worked to propose amendments to the District of Innovation (DOI) Plan for beneficial flexibilities. These amendments were discussed with the District Advisory Committee (DAC) on August 21st, and the DAC unanimously voted to approve their presentation to the Board of Trustees. With the Board’s final approval, the District will notify TEA of the amendments and they become effective immediately. The full DOI Plan is posted on the District website. New flexibilities include:


  • Allow the implementation of timelines for requests and limits on the number of times a parent can choose grade-level retention or course-repetition when students are otherwise passing and would be eligible to promote.
  • Allow BCISD to give additional notification to parents regarding special education evaluation procedures only upon returning from DAEP rather than both when placed and when transitioning back to campus.
  • Allow BCISD to prevent overcrowding of the DAEP by establishing an on-campus discipline setting (CAEP) substantially similar to a DAEP for non-violent offenses that now statutorily require DAEP, including possession of a vaping device
  • Allow BCISD to comply with FERPA during threat assessment team meetings by communicating with and collecting input from a student’s parent before and after a team meeting rather than the parent attending the meeting where other students and staff are discussed in context of the threat.
  • Allow BCISD to consider in-district and out-of-district transfer requests from families of peace officers and military service members in the same manner as other requests rather than a guaranteed approval. Transfers can be subject to space, program availability, attendance history, and discipline history.
The Board approved the reclassification of PEIMS Coordinator to PEIMS Manager.  This position is also being reclassified from Administrative/Professional Pay Grade 1 to Administrative/Professional Pay Grade 2.  This role has taken on more duties throughout the past years to include:
  • Serving as the District’s Skyward Student Software expert/lead.
  • Secondary supervisor for campus registrars. While the Campus Principal is their direct supervisor, this position provides daily oversight for each of these positions and is responsible for training each of them in the District’s Student Accounting practices as well as Skyward. 
  • Consults with and provides guidance to campus principals on a daily basis in regard to PEIMS and Skyward Student.
  • Oversees the Student Accounting process for the entire District.
  • District lead processing all District student transfers.


The Board heard a report on DNA (REGULATION) PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL/EVALUATION OF TEACHERS. Teachers will continue to be appraised with T-TESS but some teachers will be eligible to be appraised every 3 years if they have met the qualifications.


Following the Board’s adoption of new District Goals last spring, the District Improvement Plan (DIP) and Campus Improvement Plans (CIPs) have undergone a complete rewrite. The Goal and Performance Objective levels of the plans were approved by the Board last night, and the full plans including strategy-level actions are posted on each campus website in the “About Us” section. The DIP and the CIP are by nature living documents because site-based teams make adjustments to the strategies throughout the year following scheduled formative reviews.


The Meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m. and the next Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on September 18, 2023.


Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link:


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Christine Hoffman, Bertram Elementary


“Christine has done a phenomenal job throughout in-service and getting the first week of school going at Bertram Elementary. As a team, we have laughed, problem solved, pivoted and most of all smiled our way through it all, under her amazing leadership. Our campus has truly felt like "together, we can do anything!" I can't wait to see the plethora of amazing things that she leads us to and through at Bertram Elementary in the coming years. She is AWESOME!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Jessica Ayala, RJ Richey Elementary


“Jessica has gone above and beyond to help me in getting my classroom ready for students--hauling heavy furniture, taking out countless loads of trash and always smiling through it all. She is always sweet, kind and personable and is a joy to work with!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Laura Baladez and Peter Null, Bertram Elementary


“Laura and Peter have been the dynamic duo in helping me to take care of many of my classroom needs at Bertram Elementary. They always stop by my room to say hello and ask if there is anything I need. And when I need something, they take care of it at supersonic speed. They are a huge help to all of us at Bertram Elementary and we couldn't be ready for a day of instruction without them! They're the best!”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Evelyn Hill, Burnet Middle School

“Mrs. Hill has made my math anxious daughter excited about math class. I know it's only the first week but my daughter has come home raving each day about Mrs. Hill. She tells us how Mrs. Hill uses small groups and rotations to keep them engaged and actually liking math. As a parent, I loved getting an email with a parent resource attached which gives me information about what they are learning with explanations. This is amazing! I wish I had this with all of my other kids. It's often difficult to help at home if I don't know what they are working on or how it was explained in class. This resource is a game changer. Thank you, Mrs. Hill, for what I know will be an amazing year for my daughter.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Holly Faris, Burnet Middle School

Holly has been WONDERFUL helping me get started at BMS, I am new and I would not have made it without her the first week!”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Megan Ramon, Bertram Elementary

“Mrs. Ramon has been so welcoming and made my daughter's first days in a brand-new school go so smoothly. We are so glad to have her in Bertram!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Jennifer Roberie, Burnet High School

“Jennifer is the Registrar extraordinaire! She has helped our BHS families with the registration process with kindness and patience, and has been the go-to person for the district's new registrars. We are so fortunate to have her and want her to know how appreciated she is!!!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Lucy Parker, Central Office

“Lucy has been such a tremendous help to our department as she helps us reach out to our Spanish speaking families with route and other bus related information. She is always so willing and kind and we appreciate her willingness every day.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kerry Wagner, Shady Grove Elementary

“I was asked to fill in for her IP and her class is amazing!! She has already taught them that when they hear an announcement come on, they stop what they are doing, point up and listen. Mrs. Wagner's students are learning, growing and it already shows. Great job!!”

August 21, 2023

Good morning! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and you were able to catch up on some rest. As you know, there is no kind of tired like the first week of school tired, but a slightly shorter week did help a little. Thank you to all of our staff for making the first week of school a success!


Our enrollment has improved since the first day of school, and as of Friday it was at 3,231 students. That still puts us behind our projected and planned enrollment, but we will continue to monitor enrollment for the typical growth that takes place between now and the snapshot date in October.


The Board will meet next week on Monday, August 28 for its Regular August Board Meeting. A big focus of this meeting will be on approving the District’s budget and tax rate for the upcoming school year. The tax is projected to decrease by 18.5 cents!


Saturday is Women's Independence Day to commemorate the ratification in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote.


Thank you for everyone’s help in making sure doors and gates are closed and locked throughout the school day. This is just one part of our comprehensive school safety and security plan. As a reminder, School Safety “Intruder Detection Audits” can begin any day. Here are some reminders about the process:

  • On the day of the visit, you can expect the auditor to be in “everyday attire” and wearing an ID.
  • Once the auditor arrives on the designated campus, he or she will check exterior doors to attempt entry. If the auditor can get in from an exterior door, he or she will then try to access interior classroom doors since our policy is to have all classroom doors locked while students are present.
  • If the auditor is stopped by a staff member, he or she will identify as a safety inspector and will have a Region 13 ID badge plus a matching ID. He or she will then proceed directly to your school office and ask to meet with the campus contact.
  • If the auditor is not able to get in through exterior doors, he or she will enter the campus as a visitor. The campus contact will then be asked to show the campus weekly door sweep record. The auditor will then be escorted by the campus contact to check interior classroom doors.


Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link:


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Phillip Malina, Burnet High School

“He worked hard before staff reported back to make sure all staff computers, projectors, monitors and phones were set up and ready for us to get to work without having to worry about how to set everything up!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kayla Earnshaw, Food Service

“Not only is she a great leader with a positive attitude, but she’s always willing to go beyond and help her staff. She’s been a positive reinforcement that Food Service needs! Thank you for always lending a helping hand!!!!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Julie McCown, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move, helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. She’s Always Friendly! Thank you!!!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Isabella Cummings, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move & set up. She helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. Thank you!!!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Patrizia Chandler, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move & set up. She helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. Thank you!!!”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Mrs. McMullen, RJ Richey Elementary

“Mrs. McMullen has always been so responsive and welcoming to me as a parent when I have had concerns or questions. This was proven again at the beginning of this school year. She assisted with ways to help my child and was so accommodating. I know this is such a busy and hectic time of year, but I appreciate so much that she takes the time to connect with families and students and make our input feel needed and valued.”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Tiffany Meyers, Shady Grove Elementary

“We had the most welcoming experience coming into Ms. Myers class for Meet the Teacher. My son is a transfer from another school district and she already knew his name as he was entering into her class. He immediately felt comfortable and welcomed just by her knowing his name. That small step helped calm his nerves and mine. I look forward to the rest of the year!”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Jennifer Stevens and Elyse Moore, Transportation

“Both Jennifer and Elise provided excellent service and time on the phone in a super busy time 😊


I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!



August 14, 2023

Good morning! It is about to get real, real. Students will report back to school this Wednesday, and if you are like me, even though this will be my 30th first day of school as an educator, I still get nervous and excited. I know I sound like a broken record, but THANK YOU for all of your hard work last week in preparation for students being welcomed back to a new school year this Wednesday. I have seen such a plethora of examples of staff optimizing for the start line, and it is not a Nancy Drew mystery to me that all of your hard work will keep us from sinking. As we Start Strong, Stay Strong, Be Tough, and Finish Strong, I think we should have a Piñata Party in May to celebrate an awesome 2023-2024 school year!


This past Friday morning, several pastors representing multiple churches from across the community came together for breakfast and prayer. Specifically, they prayed for Burnet CISD, our staff, students, parents, and community. There is no doubt that this community supports you and your vocation of serving others.


Don’t forget to look for Kona Ice on your campus sometime today. Nothing beats the heat better than shaved ice and my personal flavor of choice- root beer! 


As a reminder, the 911 portal is open and active on the CampusShield app beginning today. If CampusShield is activated, it will call 911. Look for more information either later today or tomorrow about your classroom phones. Matt Busceme, Director of Technology, has been putting in extra hours learning how to program the phones to not only call 911 with a single button like we showed you, but he has shown proof of concept that he can now lock the doors and send text message notifications with a single button. He has some configuration work to do today, and we will be sending out information and screenshots on what we think right now will be two panic alarm buttons on your phone beginning on Wednesday.


I hope you will have the chance to join us tonight for Meet the Bulldogs. This is an opportunity for our students participating in fall activities to be introduced to the community. The event will take place at the Burnet High School Gym. A hotdog meal will be provided at 6:00 p.m. in the foyer and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m.


The Texas House Select Committee on Education Opportunity and Enrichment released its initial interim report to the 88th Texas Legislature late last Friday. In response to its three charges, the committee made a host of recommendations, including several related to vouchers. This appears to be part of the road map that they will use during a Special Session in October. At the bottom of this email I have included an overview of the recommendations.


Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link:


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Garrick Jones, Transportation

“Garrick has gone above and beyond this summer. He has worked in extreme heat in the shop to prepare the buses for the new year. He strives for perfection and aims to complete projects while learning new things daily. When given a new task, he grabs hold and takes ownership. He is a great BCISD team member, and we are so blessed to have him in Transportation.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Sabrina Shaffer, RJ Richey Elementary

“Mrs. Shaffer is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever she is needed. She is flexible in schedules, students and staff admire her, and she does everything with a smile on her face! She takes pride in her job and makes a difference in students' lives daily.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Shayna Clark, Bertram Elementary

“You are the best part of Bertram! You bring a warm presence that everyone appreciates. Thank you for being a person who makes such a big difference.”


From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Valerie Sanchez, Shady Grove Elementary

“Working hard all summer long to get the school cleaned and ready to go for the first day of school.”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Carrie Brobst, Shady Grove Elementary

“Goes over and beyond to make it happen. Giving everything and everyone a smile, even on the hard days!”


From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: BMS Cafeteria Staff and FSO Staff

“They’re working really hard to have the BMS kitchen set up and ready for the new year with all the construction.”


From: Burnet CISD Community Member

To: Valerie Sanchez, Facilities & Operations

“She’s hardworking and always positive!”


I hope you have a great week and a great first day of school!


The Texas House Select Committee on Education Opportunity and Enrichment


Charge 1: Ensuring all Texas youths enjoy equal educational opportunity and the freedom to obtain a quality education, regardless of circumstance


Continue identifying opportunities to scale and improve public school choice through the availability of specialized schools, STEM Academies, Career and Technical Education, Early College High Schools, etc., ensuring parents have ample choice in their children’s education.

Implement proposed recommendations from the Texas Commission on Virtual Education.
Implement the proposed recommendations from the Texas Commission on Special Education Funding. (TASA Note: Recommendation 14 in that report is to “Consider Educational Savings Accounts.”)
  1. The Legislature should consider addressing intra- and inter-transfer policy including charging of tuition for transfer students.
  2. If the Legislature chooses to enact a parental choice program, it should clearly outline student eligibility to ensure success and target certain student populations to ensure that each program participant is assessed to make apparent academic outcomes. The program should prioritize high need students. The program should include appropriate safeguards to ensure fiscal responsibility and accountability including, but not limited to, a finite appropriation to fund the program using General Revenue funds and not funds from Foundation School Program. Ultimately, the program needs to value the best interest of the student, parent and taxpayer, preserving the quality of education.
  3. An additional parental choice option worthy of consideration includes legislation to allow the Comptroller to select a Certified Educational Assistance Organization to administer a fund that would be used for parents and students to apply for scholarships or education expense assistance, funded by private sector funds, no state money, by offering credits on insurance premium taxes for contributions. Contributions would also provide for federal tax deductions.
  4. Consider expanding learning opportunities through community-based learning centers.

Charge 2: Improving outcomes for Texas public school students and meaningfully supporting educators and educational institutions


Student and Parent Supports

  1. Increase the Basic Allotment to ensure LEAs have sufficient operating funds to offset the rising cost of inflation, which can be used to compensate teachers and provide increased resources for students in Texas.
  2. The Legislature should consider addressing parent/guardian rights regarding the local grievance process similar to HB 890 and HB 3315 of the 88th Regular Session.
  3. Empower parents with reliable information about their child’s reading progress and high quality resources that can be used at home.
  4. Promote early literacy foundations through rapid interventions when students in early grades show signs of low proficiency through policies contained within HB 2162 (88R).
  5. Provide diagnostic instruments for schools to monitor a student’s development of foundational literacy skills in Kindergarten through third grade.
  6. The Legislature should consider offering grants to help districts pay for innovative parental engagement efforts.
  7. Consider additional funding for organizations on campus that provide resources for chronically absent, truant, and at risk students. 

Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Supports

  1. Implement recommendations of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to address critical vacancies and support the educator workforce to meet state needs. Specifically: a. Expand TIA to more teachers through the establishment of a fourth designation tier and the creation of a grant program to help increase participating districts; b. Create a sustainable, affordable Teacher Residency Program and allotment to increase the pipeline of diverse teachers receiving strong, on-the-job preparation; c. Waive certification costs for hard-to-fill teacher fields such as bilingual or special education. Additionally, waive certification and fee costs for first time teacher applicants; and d. Provide children of teachers with access to free Pre-K.
  2. Eliminate the TRS Retire/Rehire surcharge imposed on districts for retired teachers to return to the classroom or fill other support staff vacancies.
  3. Provide greater public transparency and data regarding the implementation of the Science of Teaching Reading.
  4. Require a percentage of a school district’s increase to the Basic Allotment be used to provide wage increases for support staff.
  5. Direct TEA to collect more disaggregated data than is currently available on teacher vacancies and class sizes, and should conduct an independent time study. The teacher time study should include the impact of large class sizes and student behaviors on the learning environment, discipline issues, and working conditions, particularly in school districts with high rates of student mobility and educationally disadvantaged students. The study should engage with educators directly to learn about the prevalence of duplicative data entry and unnecessary paperwork that take time away from teaching.
  6. Direct TEA to annually promote the teacher profession and its value. 

Classroom Discipline

Supporting teachers in their efforts to manage student behavior, perhaps through reforming policies about allowing teachers to remove from the classroom students with especially problematic behavior and the return of those students to the classroom, as was in SB 9 (88R), and through training and technical assistance for districts about strategies school leaders can use to set effective behavior expectations, as was in HB 11 (88R) and HB 100 (88R) as passed by the Senate.

Property Tax

Consider how recent property tax legislation (SB 2, 88(2)) impacts school finance and County Appraisal District processes and explore possibilities for ensuring fair practices across districts related to State and local property value assessment. This should include a thorough examination of the state’s property value appraisal system, specifically the Property Value Study (PVS), and its impact on local school districts.

School Finance

  1. Strategically adjust key school finance allotments and funding streams as outlined in proposals passed with bipartisan and bicameral support during the Regular Session to provide targeted resources for improving student outcomes, including: a. Adding pre-K students to the Early Education Allotment to support the availability of quality early learning; b. Removing barriers to implementation in public-private Pre-K partnerships; c. Modifying Additional Day School Year baseline calendars to 175 days, rather than 180; and d. Increasing the weights provided in the Compensatory Education Allotment.
  2. Consider establishing an Average Daily Attendance (ADA) floor for school districts. An ADA floor would help set funding expectations as well as protect district funding against unexpected circumstances, such as natural disasters or statewide emergencies, projected decline in enrollment, student departures, and student mobility across districts.
  3. Appropriate additional funds to support school safety implementation to meet requirements from HB 3 (88R) and guidance issued by TEA in 2022.
  4. Consider allowing ISD Board of Trustees to access additional Tier 2 Golden Pennies.

Charge 3: Modernizing assessment and accountability measures for Texas schools educating K-12 students


  1. Allocate technical assistance grant funds to support the development of Local Accountability Systems and identify potential valid and reliable metrics to include in elementary and middle grade campuses.
  2. Consider requiring TEA to deliver an annual report on TTAP’s effectiveness rather than waiting until 2026 to review findings. A report should include TTAP’s ability to reduce the quantity of high stakes testing.
  3. The Legislature should consider reforms that make the assessment results better tools for parents to actually understand which and how much of the TEKS their child has mastered.
  4. Establish a predictable cycle for the adjustment of CCMR cut scores to better align and prepare LEAs. Alignment should include “what/if” models.
  5. Define chronic absenteeism in the Texas Education Code. Add chronic absenteeism to the “at risk” category to better support students who are chronically absent and therefore at risk of dropping out. Require that TEA annually aggregate and report chronic absenteeism as well as truancy to increase transparency and better target student supports.
  6. Modify Resource Campus qualifications and requirements so more campuses can participate and benefit from additional targeted funding to improve outcomes.

August 7, 2023

Welcome back to the 2023-2024 school year! Denise Witmer is quoted as saying, “A new school year means new beginnings, new adventures… and new challenges.” I am excited about the new beginnings and adventures that are ahead for us in 23-24, and our collective team is committed to facing any new challenges head on, and removing barriers for you so that you can do the important work you are called to do.


As a reminder, as you get settled into your classroom and find that you need basic supplies for your classroom, please reach out to your campus office staff. Each campus has a supply budget for classroom supplies and materials. In addition, remember to take advantage of your Instructional Classroom Enhancement (ICE) Funds ($50 for every classroom teacher). Look for details on how to access your ICE Funds in an email from CFO Clay Goehring sent out this past Saturday.


Thank you to our Facilities and Operations staff that have worked tirelessly in some challenging conditions this summer to prepare our buildings for this school year, and they look great! Lots of construction and renovations took place over the summer, and it looks like all of the major projects will be done before the start of school, except the Walking Track, Canopy, and Hallway B at Bertram Elementary, and the Canopy at Burnet Middle School. We are working on getting a firm timeline for the completion of these projects.


I look forward to gathering with you tomorrow for Convocation. The Vendor Extravaganza and Breakfast will kick off the day from 7:30 – 8:45 a.m. in the BHS cafeteria (NOTE the later start time for the breakfast), and Convocation will begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp in the BHS auditorium. At Convocation, get ready for the Burnet CISD Masked Singer competition featuring Elephant, Unicorn, Spicy Chicken, and Dinosaur!


Masked Singer


Our students have been hard at work preparing for fall competitions. The District's web calendar lists upcoming competitions and events. I hope you will join me in finding time this school year to watch our students perform and compete. You can check out the web calendar HERE.


Shout Out


If I sang the praises of our staff’s hard work, you would need ear plugs because I don’t sing well, and I would lose my voice pretty quickly because there are so many examples of hard work, dedication, care, and commitment among our entire staff. As part of the District’s Strategic Plan, we formalized last year a way that we can sing the praises of each other, and allow parents and community members the chance to sing the praises of our wonderful staff as well through what we call Staff Shout Outs. A Staff Shout Out is a special recognition that acknowledges a District staff member who has demonstrated a special effort, an outstanding job, caring customer service, a project of high quality workmanship, a team mentality, and/or is helping students CRAFT the FUTURE. We want to encourage students, parents, teachers, auxiliary staff, coworkers, and all community members to submit Shout Outs for any employee of Burnet CISD. You can check out past Staff Shout Outs or submit a Shout Out yourself by clicking HERE.


We have a lot to do in the next 7 days before welcoming students back on August 16. Thank you for being a part of Burnet CISD and committing to our mission of CRAFTING the FUTURE for our students. Your hard work will pay off as we focus on Finishing Strong!

July 25, 2023

Good evening! As you will see in the Board Meeting Recap below, the news on the budget front is better, but far from where it should be based on the inaction of the Legislature. A Special Session is now being predicted for October that will focus on teacher pay raises and educational savings accounts (vouchers). The move from September to October for the Special Session is due to the impeachment hearing of Ken Paxton scheduled for September.


I have said it before and will continue to say it, funding for teacher pay raises should not be tied to or contingent upon the passing of a voucher scheme bill. Both items should be allowed to stand on their own for an up or down vote. The Board approved compensation plan will allow us to make changes to the District’s compensation plan based on any new legislation passed in October. The Board and Administration stand ready to act. The Legislature now has to do its part.


Our campus and district leadership teams met last week over two very full days to make preparations for the upcoming school year. We look forward to welcoming new professional staff on Friday, August 4, and welcoming back all staff on Monday, August 7.


If you haven’t done so yet, please send Jessi Carpenter ([email protected]) your summer fun photo. It will be used in a video right before Convocation kicks off. Enjoy these last two weeks of summer break!


The Board of Trustees met this evening for their Regular July Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.


Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report. He also provided an update on the 2023-2024 budget.  This update provided the Board with new information related to the budget, resulting in additional funds for the current year, and identified long term funding opportunities that help in future budget years. These updated numbers provide additional funds for pay raises beyond the 1% pay increases being projected in June.


The Board of Trustees and Administration is committed to providing salary increases to our staff each year and have worked diligently to ensure Burnet CISD’s total compensation package is as competitive as possible.  As a testament to this, the Board of Trustees approved the Administration’s recommendation of a 2% Midpoint General Pay Increase for Teachers and Librarians and a 2% Midpoint General Pay Increase for all other staff. Staff whose salary is above the pay grade maximum will receive a lump sum payment equal to the general pay increase split in their December and May paycheck.


The Board also approved the stipends for the 2023-2024 school year with no changes from the 2022-2023 school year.


The updated budget projection for next school year is a $330,000 deficit and a deficit of approximately $1,000,000 for 2024-2025.  The District has available fund balance to cover both of these deficits. The final 2023-2024 budget will be presented for approval to the Board on Monday, August 28.


After the budget update, Mr. Goehring provided a report on the possibility of Burnet CISD changing its fiscal year start and end dates.  Currently, Burnet CISD’s fiscal year begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st. School Districts have the option to move to a fiscal year that begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of each year.  The Board was presented with the two different timelines for each fiscal year option and the pros and cons of each were reviewed.  The major benefit of making the change is that it aligns the fiscal year with the academic year, and that allows campuses to begin spending “new year money” on July 1st instead of having to wait until September after the school year has already begun.  The transition year also increases a District's fund balance a significant amount, which is a welcomed benefit.  The Board will have the option to officially approve this transition later in the 2023-2024 school year, with the change, if approved, going into effect on July 1, 2025.


In a step to prepare the District for the future, the Board approved paying off early $3.4 million in bonds. This action is called a defeasance and it provides interest cost savings as well as increases flexibility for the District to address future facility needs. Since 2012, the District has defeased or refinance bonds 5 different times saving the District over $5 million in interest payments. This is the District's 2nd year in a row to pay off debt early, and a practice the District plans to continue. The funds used to pay off the debt early are generated from the I&S portion of the tax rate, and in no way impacts the District’s operating budget.


In another action item, the Board approved a proposed tax rate for the 2023–2024 school year.  The proposed rate of $0.9705 (8.91 cents lower than last year) is based on state law prior to the new legislation recently passed by the Legislature.  The exact details of the new law have not been released, but the rate the Board will adopt in August will include the additional property tax relief, and will likely be compressed (lowered) by another 9 cents. This will represent significant savings for homeowners, and the Legislature has promised that they will provide the loss revenue from lower tax rates to school districts.


The Board also completed required annual approvals related to Burnet CISD Investments.  The items approved were the District Investment Policy, the Authorized Brokers List, and the approval of the District’s Investment Officers, which are Clay Goehring, CFO and Jill Disler, Director of Accounting.


The Board approved the Administration’s recommendation regarding the 403(b) Program.  Those enrolled in the 403(b) Program by August 16, 2023 will be eligible to receive the District matching contribution of 50% up to maximum amount 2% of total salary. The District will continue to offer the 403(b), but will discontinue matching contributions for those enrolled after August 16, 2023.


Bo Ledoux with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:


The Board approved the purchase of new LED lights for the BHS Competition Gym.  These lights will provide better efficiency and greatly improve the visibility and brightness in the gym. 2021 Bond Prop-B funds will be used to purchase these new lights.


Athletic Director Kurt Jones provided a report on the 2022-2023 athletic program.  His presentation included the recent news that BHS Athletics finished ranked #13 out of 67 Austin Area schools in the Austin American Statesman Breazeale Cup.


An overview of the District Climate Survey conducted this past spring with staff, families and secondary students was provided to the Board. The survey asked questions over multiple domains including academic performance, student emotional & physical well-being, family engagement, communication, leadership, teacher support, staff well-being, staff opportunities for growth & retention, instruction, data use, and overall environment.


The Board approved the following revisions to LOCAL Board policies:



Replace policy- Revision to this policy clarifies that in accordance with the District’s innovation plan the District is exempt from the state law that requires teachers to hold SBEC certification in the areas of CTE, dual credit courses, Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and hard-to-fill courses.



Replace policy-Revisions to this policy states that payment for accumulated leave upon retirement will be paid for local leave only.



Replace policy- Revisions to this local policy clarifies that the Superintendent shall have the authority to approve a request by the principal for a qualified individual who has experience in CTE, dual credit courses, LOTE and hard-to-fill courses may be exempt from SBEC certification in accordance with the District’s local innovation plan.



Replace policy:  Revisions to this policy clarifies that all teachers will be appraised annually unless they meet the qualifications to be appraised every 3 years.



Replace policy:  Revisions to this policy clarify that homeschool or private school transfer grades are only accepted when institutions are accredited by a TEA-recognized agency; remove references to procedures for graduating classes prior to 2023; and refine other language to more clearly articulate the intent of the original policy.


Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones provided the opportunity for public comment regarding possible changes to the post-pandemic Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (RIPICS) Plan. This was the last required public hearing on the RIPICS Plan, and the Administration did not recommend any changes to the plan, which is posted on the ESSER III web page.


Adoption of new Phonics Instructional Materials was included on the Consent Agenda. This selection was driven by teacher feedback during the spring semester, and will replace the existing Phonics resource as the primary source of daily phonics lessons.


The Board approved the 2023-2024 Student Code of Conduct, which communicates to students, parents, school staff, and the community the expectations for student conduct, and how the District will handle misconduct. Bills passed during this summer’s Legislative Session impacted a few areas of student discipline:

  • House Bill (HB) 114 requires mandatory DAEP placement if the student possesses, uses, or is under the influence of, or sells, gives, or delivers marijuana, THC, or an e-cigarette to another person within 300 feet of school property or at a school-related event. The e-cigarette provision includes possession of any part of a vaping device, regardless of whether or not a substance is in the device
  • House Bill (HB) 3928 requires that the district provide information about the process for requesting a special education evaluation to parents of students with any DAEP placement.
  • House Bill (HB) 1427 expands the definition of harassment to include making obscene, intimidating, or threatening telephone calls or other electronic communications.


With these adopted updates, the Administration can begin finalizing procedures and Student Handbook language to operationalize these changes.


Finally, the Board approved endorsing Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick (Dripping Springs Board Member) as a candidate for the Texas Association of School Board (TASB) of Directors.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.  The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on August 28 at 6:00 p.m.

July 17, 2023
Greetings! I hope my letter finds you doing well and enjoying a summertime adventure of your choice! We have been busy planning for the upcoming school year with the added challenge of responding to the budget deficit caused by the inaction of the Legislature. The good news is that it was announced on Monday that the House and Senate have agreed on a property tax reduction plan, which means that the Legislature can move forward with discussions about additional funding for schools and teacher pay raises (fingers crossed). As I shared previously, those conversations are slated for September. 
I encourage you to continue to enjoy your summer while also providing a few updates as we look to the new school year.  
Our maintenance and custodial crews have been busy all summer making sure the buildings are ready for staff to return, which has been challenging at some campuses with all of the renovations and construction projects. Unforeseen conditions are causing some of the construction schedules to be tighter than we would like, but teachers and staff will have access to their buildings beginning July 31.
Please remember that all staff should have their Eduhero required trainings completed before Friday, August 4. 
We are excited to welcome the new members to our Bulldog family, and we look forward to formally welcoming new professional staff on Friday, August 4. All new and returning campus staff will report to their campuses on Monday, August 7. The district-level schedule for inservice is available on the Professional Development page of the Curriculum Department. I am especially looking forward to our entire staff gathering for Convocation on Tuesday, August 8. The vendor breakfast will kick off the day from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. in the BHS cafeteria. You will be able to enjoy breakfast along with coffee and juice. In addition, churches, businesses, and community organizations will be welcoming staff back and providing great door prizes and giveaways. 
Convocation will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the BHS auditorium, and the theme for this year is, “Finish Strong.” It may seem odd to start off the year with the theme of Finish Strong, but it not only reinforces Covey’s Habit 2 (Begin with the end in mind), it also reminds us that in order to finish strong, we all have to start strong and stay strong. I will be challenging staff to consider the mindset and actions needed now to Finish Strong in May. 
I am excited as we take the next step in Leader in Me and begin introducing the Habits and the Leader in Me (LIM) concepts to our students. This will include teaching key concept lessons to students encouraging them to first “lead themselves” through personal responsibility, planning, and decision-making, then “lead others” through attentive listening, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Harvard University’s 2021 evaluation of 33 social-emotional development programs found that across multiple studies, Leader in Me was associated with reduced behavior problems and absenteeism, more-positive perceptions of school climate, and higher math and reading/language arts test performance. These are competencies that will help students be successful in school now and into their futures, and Leader in Me will provide all of us a common road map and language to ensure students are explicitly taught the competencies. I appreciate our staff members who went through professional development this summer in order to serve as LIM trainers. This allows us to build internal capacity and meet the needs of our staff without having to rely on the availability and schedules of outside trainers.  
As I mentioned earlier, the Board of Trustees and administration have been spending a lot of time planning and discussing the budget for the 2023-2024 school year. The first step towards approving the budget for next year will take place on July 26 when the Board will set a proposed tax rate and date for a public hearing. The final approval of the budget will take place on August 28. I will have a more thorough budget update to provide you after the July Board Meeting, but please know that even with a deficit budget we are working on a compensation plan that includes a pay increase for all staff, while also providing employee-only health, vision, and dental insurance, and free telemedicine services at no cost.
Online benefits enrollment is underway from July 13 through August 11. A detailed summary of BCISD’s benefits, monthly premiums, and enrollment specifics can be found at BCISD Employee Benefits at Benefits enrollment assistance will be available for all campus staff at designated times on campuses, as well as immediately after Convocation on August 8, in the Burnet HS Library. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the elective benefits available to you. Join us on Tuesday, August 1, at 6:00 p.m. in the BCISD Board Room for a Benefits Information Night. Spouses are welcome to attend. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Michele Darling, Benefits Coordinator, at [email protected].
I want you to know that school safety is and will always be our first priority. In the past 10 years, the District has been very proactive in implementing multiple safety and security initiatives, but there is always work to be done. We will once again have a school resource officer assigned to each campus. In addition, radio repeaters are being installed at all campuses to ensure first responder radios work properly throughout the buildings. Crews are installing the wiring for the electronic locking system for interior doors, but because of supply chain issues with the locking hardware, the complete system will not be fully installed and operational until January 2024. We will be implementing the first phase of a panic alert solution as we kickoff the school year. It is a robust solution with lots of options, but we are going to be very deliberate in our implementation. Finally, TEA will continue the intruder audits this upcoming school year, and all staff will continue to be responsible for visibly wearing their badge, for ensuring that all exterior doors and gates are closed and locked at all times, and that all classroom doors are closed and locked at all times students are present in the room.  
I am excited about the upcoming year, and I hope that you will take these last days of summer to rest and rejuvenate. I look forward to seeing you soon!
June 26, 2023
Good evening! The Board of Trustees met this evening for their Regular June Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.
The Board Recognized BHS student Riley Arrington for receiving first place in the State Star Chapter Degree in Agribusiness at the 2022 State FFA Convention. 
The Board also recognized BHS Softball players Addie Grace Hernandez for being named to the 2023 THSCA and TGCA Academic All-State Teams and Maddi Moise & Presley Crawford for being named to the 2023 TGCA Academic All-State Team.
Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report.
Francis Zordilla with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:
All campus projects are on schedule to be completed before the start of school. Two items of note include the following: 
  • The Student Activity Weight Room is scheduled to be completed by July 10. The delay is due to poor workmanship on the part of a flooring subcontractor who originally installed and then attempted to repair/reinstall the flooring in the weight room. The lead time required to order and ship the new, specialty flooring has also delayed the reinstallation of the floor and weight room equipment. All of this additional work and the new flooring is at no cost to Burnet CISD.
  • When the turf installation subcontractor repaired the drain stone at the Burnet Middle School field after the initial installation, the turf was rolled up and then reinstalled. Through that process the turf was stretched and multiple seams were introduced to the field in order for all the field markings to line up. S&P (the general contractor) and the District both rejected the field, and the turf installation subcontractor has agreed to replace the turf field with a brand new turf field. RS3, a company led by Nolan and Reid Ryan, will install the new turf field, and all work is scheduled to be completed by August 16. All of this additional work and the new turf field is at no cost to Burnet CISD.
Athletic Director and School Safety Coordinator Kurt Jones provided the Board with a report on the Triennial Safety and Security Audit. This audit is conducted every three years by an outside audit team, and is a very comprehensive review of facilities and practices related to school safety and security. The District received several commendations and just a few suggestions for possible enhancements.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones and the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) Parent Co-Chair Kaylee Gaines provided a report on the SHAC that included activities of the group during the 2022-2023 school year. In addition, the results of the Triennial Assessment of the District’s Wellness Plan were presented.
As shared previously, the District is facing a budget deficit for the 2023-2024 school year due to inaction on the part of the Legislature. Based on a dialogue with the Board during this evening’s meeting, the following cost saving measures are being implemented:
Note- FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent and represents a single staffing unit. All FTEs noted below are either currently vacant, or there is an open position for an impacted staff member to transfer.
  • Hold on filling 5 elementary teacher FTEs until the District has actual enrollment data for a cost savings of $272,000.
  • Eliminate two currently-vacant teacher FTEs at Burnet Middle School and two currently-vacant teacher FTEs at Burnet High School for a cost savings of $218,000.
  • Eliminate one Instructional Partner FTE at Burnet Middle School and one Instructional Partner FTE at Burnet High School for a cost savings of $54,000.
  • Eliminate one Counselor FTE at Burnet High School while maintaining two traditional counselors; one college, career, and military readiness coordinator; and one intervention counselor (this represents the same staffing level as last school year) for a savings of $60,000. 
  • Eliminate one floating Elementary Counselor FTE (it was never filled last school year) for a cost savings of $60,000.
  • Eliminate one currently-vacant ESSER-funded elementary Bilingual teacher FTE for a one-year cost savings of $54,000.
  • Eliminate the following auxiliary and central FTEs for a cost savings of $102,500. 
    • One-half Bus Trainer FTE
    • One Grounds Worker FTE
    • One Central Office Clerical FTE
    • Part-Time Student Custodians
  • Reduce Campus and Central Department Budgets by 5% for a cost savings of $100,000.
  • Fund Instructional Classroom Enhancement funds from campus activity funds instead of the District Operating Budget for a savings to the Operating Budget of $7,000.
  • Campus PTOs fund elementary field trips for a cost savings of $18,000 ($6,000 per campus).
  • Eliminate meals for School Board Members before evening meetings at a cost savings of $3,500.
  • Temporarily move Quest High School and DAEP to the Annex located at the north end of Burnet Middle School for a cost savings of $140,250 and cost avoidance of $85,000. The cost savings include:
    • Not filling the open one-half Counselor FTE
    • Eliminate one Instructional Partner FTE
    • Realize utility savings
    • Cost avoidance of custodial
    • Cost avoidance of adding a School Resource Officer
    • Reduce one-half Teacher FTE by employing a dual-certified teacher 
Even with these reductions, the Board will still need to utilize Fund Balance (the District savings account) to cover the funding gap caused by the Legislature’s inaction during the 88th Legislative Session. A Special Session for school finance has been all but guaranteed to be called for some time in September. The Board and Administration will continue to review the budget for revenues, efficiencies, cost avoidances, and reductions. The Board will consider the 2023-2024 Compensation Plan at the July 27 Board Meeting. For perspective, a 1% general pay increase costs $325,000. The Board will approve the 2023-2024 General Operating Budget on August 28.  
The Board approved to continue (at no cost to employees) 100% employee-only coverage for health, dental, vision & telehealth. This includes an increase in monthly premiums for TRS health insurance at a cost to the District of $167,500. This also includes the District contributing $21.09 a month per employee towards the Low Dental Plan premium in lieu of the High Dental Plan that has been provided previously. That change represents an annual savings of $43,000 and a cost avoidance of $24,000. Preventative care is free under both plans, but there is a higher out pocket cost for any dental procedures under the Low Dental Plan. An employee-only could elect the High Dental Plan and utilize the District contribution for a monthly cost to employees of $11.79. Regarding the supplemental benefits of the 403B matching program and the tenure payout at retirement for state and local days, the Administration recommended grandfathering all current employees in both programs without any changes, but approving at the July 24 Board Meeting changes to both programs to avoid future costs. 
The Board adopted revisions to the Board Operating Procedures. This document represents standard operating procedures agreed upon by the whole Board. The Board Operating Procedures are reviewed annually and revised as needed. A copy of the Board Operating Procedures can be found here:
Based on a requirement from the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Board approved increases to adult meals. The last time BCISD raised adult meal prices was prior to the 21-22 school year. The increase for lunch is $0.35 and for breakfast is $0.65.  All student meal prices are able to remain the same as last year. The new adult meal pricing is below:
2022-2023 Adult Prices                2023-2024 Adult Prices
Lunch        $4.15                           Lunch        $4.50            
Breakfast    $2.35                         Breakfast    $3.00
Each school district in the state is required to have a board-approved depository. Cadence Bank has served as the District’s depository for the past 6 years. Given the interest rate environment, a number of banks have expressed interest in becoming the District’s depository. In order to ensure best value, the District decided to waive the final extension option and go out to bid for depository services. Based heavily on their continued no-fee structure, the Board approved Cadence Bank to continue as the District’s depository.
The Board approved the hire of three new assistant principals. Please join the District in congratulating and welcoming all three new assistant principals:
•    Lissa Nichols at Bertram Elementary
•    Rachel Cohen at RJ Richey Elementary
•    Cindy Cox at Burnet Middle School
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.  The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on July 24 at 6:00 p.m. I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and a great 4th of July Holiday!
June 13, 2023

Due to the Legislature’s inaction on school funding during the 88th Legislative Session (even with a state budget surplus of $33 billion), Burnet CISD is facing a $1.3 million deficit for the 2023-2024 school year. The Texas Constitution leaves little doubt that strong education is good public policy and is a required duty of the Legislature.


Why is Burnet CISD facing a deficit?

There are two main factors for the budget deficit: the post-pandemic decrease in student attendance and the expiration of the Formula Transition Grants.


Student Attendance

Before the pandemic, Burnet CISD like most districts across the state had an attendance rate of 96%-97%. In a post-pandemic world in which parents are quicker to keep their children home, the District’s attendance rate has dropped to 93.7%. That 3% decrease represents an annual loss of $830,000.


What would help?

  • If student attendance in Burnet CISD increased by just 1%, that would be an increase in funding of $277,000.
  • If all returning students were enrolled, and an additional 100 students enrolled in Burnet CISD, that would be an increase in funding of $790,000.
  • If the Legislature would fund schools based on enrollment rather than attendance, the District would have a steadier revenue source. Schools do not save money when even 1% of students don’t show up. The operating costs are the same if 95% of students attend school vs. 94% of students attend school. Texas is one of just six states in the nation that fund schools based on attendance; most fund schools based on enrollment.
  • Increase the Basic Allotment. The Basic Allotment, or dollar amount provided per Average Daily Attendance, is currently $6,160 per student per year; however inflation has been 14.5 percent since the Legislature approved the last increase in the Basic Allotment, which was in 2019. To fully account for 14.5 percent inflation, Legislators would have to increase the Basic Allotment by $900. Headlines may announce that Texas is spending a record dollar amount on education, but this is misleading because Texas is also educating a record number of students. According to Education Week, Texas already ranks 40th in per-student spending.


Formula Transition Grant

When Legislators approved House Bill 3 in 2019, they enacted Formula Transition Grants (FTG) to ensure that all districts would receive at least a 3 percent increase in per-student funding. The grants went to districts that would otherwise see little or no increase. Due to the inaction of the 2023 Legislature, the Formula Transition Grants were not extended during the Legislative Session resulting in a sizable fund shortfall for more than 200 districts, including Burnet CISD with a projected loss of $625,000. None of the surrounding school districts (Liberty Hill, Marble Falls, Lampasas, and Llano) receive Formula Transition Grants.


What would help?

  • If the Legislature would extend the expiration date for the Formula Transition Grant to 2029-2030 it would allow time for formulas to catch up so that all school districts successfully transition to a post-HB3 world without experiencing any funding cuts.
  • An increase in the Basic Allotment or other infusion of state funding could help replace FTG revenue. However, putting more state funding into the system and reducing the FTG by the same amount is not a net increase for schools. It would simply be a different way of supplying the same amount of funding. All school districts need additional funding to keep up with rising costs for fuel, supplies, and other expenses driven higher by record inflation.

What’s next?

There has been talk that the Governor may call a special session in September to address teacher pay and vouchers. Schools need help now! By law, Burnet CISD must approve its budget by August 31. The possibility of the Legislature taking some unknown action in September is not going to help in hiring needed staff today.


The Board of Trustees and Administration are working collaboratively to address the budget deficit. We are currently reviewing revenues, efficiencies, cost avoidances, and reductions. Difficult choice are going to have to be made, when they shouldn’t have to be made. The current called Special Session is focusing on property-tax relief. Lowering property taxes on behalf of all Texans and addressing school funding is not an either-or proposition. We can and must do both. The Governor should call for a Special Session to address the school funding issue immediately. 


As written in 1876, the Texas Constitution states,  “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” In my opinion, the Legislature is not fulfilling its Constitutional duty.