Brenham ISD’s deficit to close out the last fiscal year is larger than initially expected.

At Monday’s Brenham School Board meeting, during action to approve a budget amendment to finalize the 2022-23 Fiscal Year, Chief Financial Officer Thad Lasater informed trustees that while the district received $3.3 million more in local tax revenue than initially budgeted for, state and federal revenues were below what was anticipated by $4.8 million.  The numbers were based on a near-final summary of finance received on September 13th.

The district finished the year with $49.2 million in revenues and $55 million in expenditures.  When asked what the school district’s deficit is right now, Lasater said that number is $5.8 million.

Superintendent Dr. Tylor Chaplin gave a breakdown of the reasons for the shortfall, which include the district not hitting enrollment/average daily attendance numbers that were projected at the start of the budget year and having to account for several purchases and costs during the year that were unbudgeted. 

In addition to school transportation and security purchases, items that were mentioned during previous discussion on the budget deficit in July included the purchase of new weight room equipment and substitute contract fees that were higher than what was originally accounted for.  Dr. Chaplin also noted that ESSER funds were expended as they were supposed to, but they did not offset the loss of revenue.

Update @ 8:30 a.m. 9/25: Lasater told KWHI that school district expenditures saw little variance between the projected numbers in July and August and the final numbers in September, going from an estimated $55 million in July and $55.4 million in August to a final total of $55 million in September. Projected revenue figures of $51.2 million in July and $51.7 million in August compared to final year-end revenue of $49.2 million in September. Lasater said the main reason for the deficit growing larger is the school district receiving less state funding than anticipated.

The school district’s $60.8 million budget for the 2023-24 Fiscal Year was approved with the expectation of a $4.5 million revenue shortfall.

The news of the larger deficit came as a shock to trustees.  Because of the budget situation, Board President Natalie Lange asked for future budget amendments to be put on the regular board agenda instead of the routine consent agenda, while trustee Archer Archer asked for a budget update to be provided monthly.

With personnel costs being a primary driver in the budget, Dr. Chaplin and Lasater reiterated that the school district is reviewing every position.  Lange said “everything has to be scrutinized,” including those positions and future purchases.  Trustee Kelvin Raven called this situation “embarrassing.”

Trustee Tommie Sullivan said he was worried about the potential impact to teachers and them having to deal with larger class sizes.  Trustee Bonnie Brinkmeyer said the school district needs to find a way to build regular student attendance and that she wants to see monthly updates on that.  Archer said, “We’re not going in the right direction” and that the district needs to be more critical with its spending. 

Lange said the board can hope for help in the Texas Legislature’s upcoming special session, which has a target date of October, but it cannot count on it.  Trustee Kyle Hafner said this is “unacceptable” and that Brenham ISD needs to “reinvent the wheel,” adding “There’s not going to be much relying on anybody else.” 


  1. PLEASE come to our meetings, one is being held this coming Saturday, 9/23 at 9:30 in the Education Center at Champion Fellowship Church. We are a group of very concerned citizens who are trying to tackled this endless spending and reckless behavior by the “gang of 4” at the board levels. Hafner & Archer are not a part but everyone else votes along with Mrs. President as if they are puppets on a string. The15 speakers who spoke at the last Board meeting were citizens who have participated in these meetings and their speeches were right on target about everything that has been mentioned in the comments’ posted on this site. CITIZENS STAND UP FOR OUR COMMUNITY, OUR SCHOOL BOARD IS AN EMBARRASEMENT.

  2. I attended the Monday board meeting as well. For the board members (excluding Archer and Hafner) not to have known and to act completely shocked at the almost $6M deficit simply says to me that they are not taking their responsibilities seriously as a Trustee.
    We’ve all heard the comment from them (the Board) stating: “We all have jobs and don’t have the time”. Well, that in itself is a huge problem and is probably the reason why we are in the situation we are in.
    When presented with an alternative to avoid spending more money in the future, their answer was an emphatic NO (Archer and Hafner excluded) the alternative to TASB could have been done side by side with TASB to compare products and services at absolutely NO cost to BISD. I think we have a right to know their reasoning….I sent the board a letter asking them why….as of now I have only received a response from Officer Raven – and his response was just “thank you for your letter” there was no answer at all…probably just an auto reply. I will continue to send the letter until I receive a response.
    The full letter can be found on FB…..LetOurTeachersTeach.

  3. Since student attendance is a major factor, why are students out of school for three days instead of one for the fair. There are more students not actively participate verses those who are. Congratulations to those who are competing! But, ultimately it’s money lost for the school district.

    1. I’m fairly certain they the average daily attendance only considers days that the schools are in session. Because so many students were missing school during the fair is probably why they decided to just not have school.

      1. The days off for fair are not additional days off. They were just shifted from other days off during the previous days off.

    2. Money lost for the school for taking days off for the fair. That is sad to have that as excuse. Then why do they get some many days off for Christmas. Take one day for that to help your count then.

    3. In reading these posts it is apparent there is quite a bit of confusion on public education in general these days. ADA is based on the average daily attendance on days when school is in session during the designated official attendance time, school holidays are not counted towards this. The state funds a district based on ADA, so if the district comes up with a budget based on 95% of the students on average being there, but then only 94% are there, then there will be a shortfall. Another fun fact about ADA is the state of Texas has not increased funding of ADA since about 2016. There have been some attempts to make funding off of the enrollment numbers, so districts are actually getting paid for the students they have, but lo and behold these attempts never move forward. So people want to complain about cost of living going up so much and not getting paid extra, Texas public schools have it about as bad or worse than anyone. This means that as costs of everything goes up, and the requirements of state policies increase, there are no extra funds available. For instance the state said all campuses needed armed officers on each campus
      Great move for school safety, but they did not provide any extra funding for these officers, so local districts get stuck with the bill. During COVID you might have seen the headlines of the federal government proving extra money for proper safety precautions (gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, ect.), but the state took whatever funding came from the federal level OUT of the state budget. So that meant that districts were still having to pay for everything extra with the same budget as they had before. Very few districts are operating with a healthy budget because of this. When it comes to politics everyone likes to argue every aspect EXCEPT EDUCATION. People vote based on almost everything besides education, and never check to see what is really being done to public education. We know what rolls down hill, so when local districts are fighting to keep their heads above water, the locals blame the district. Clearly they have been some questionable expenditures in Brenham ISD for sure especially with the era of education funding we are in. But saying no to everything is not smart either. I saw some votes against some needed fume hoods for CTE classes to stay within code to have the class. This is a poor decision due to CTE courses actually providing extra funding for the district. It seems everyone could use an education on education, including those getting praised by some for trying to save the budget. If you haven’t been paying attention there is about to be a special session called by the governor in which the school voucher system “will be pushed through or else”. This system is another way to undermine funding public education and to act like it is beneficial to families. This will again take money out of school district’s budgets, and the vouchers aren’t enough to cover the costs of most private schools for students in order to afford going to anyways, so it’s a lose-lose situation. But the only time anyone wants to pay attention is when there is a bond or budget meeting. And by then they have already voted in office the people who are causing the problems at the state level. If you want to actually be a part of the solution stop writing the local board members and start writing you state representatives to demand proper funding for public education. If they did this you would be surprised how quickly the financial situation would turn around. One thing I know I would do different if I was on the board or central office is start educating the community of what is really happening to public education, but then that would just turn into a red vs blue argument by those listening and wouldn’t get anywhere. So while everyone argues and fights, the real people who lose are teachers and students, the people education is supposed to be worried about the most.

      1. Thank you for bringing up a very good point. The public needs “educated on education,” because there is so much that they do not know and assume to know.

      2. Ignorance is Bliss is right on about the state failures…which is why I keep saying we need to stay as independent as possible from the Austin /DC so called leaders…such as TEA and TASB…they maintain their positions and ignore what the truth is.

  4. I do not disagree with the nature of any post made thus far. However, it is clear that many commenters have not attended board meetings. The budget deficit is solely the responsibility of Dr. Tylor Chaplin and four current board members: Lange, Sullivan, Krenek and Raven. Hafner, Archer and Brinkmeyer joined the board in May. The deficit of 5.8 million reflects the 2022-23 school year which they were not a part of. Brinkmeyer (along with the other four) voted for spending $155,000 on vent hoods even though we had a deficit. Hafner and Archer have not voted for spending one penny when a choice was given. So, do not lump these two gentlemen into the mix of “the board”. They are not “blind.” They do not need to “go.” They are following through with campaign promises, but it is hard when every vote is 5-2. These gentlemen fight, make good arguments for change and all five remaining trustees seem to be deaf. They do not listen to Hafner and Archer AND they do not listen to the community.

    The board hired a TASB search firm to help find the new superintendent. Senator Kolkhorst in the meeting expressed her opinion to refrain from hiring a search firm. Archer read his Board Comment stating he did not want to hire a search firm. The same five board members did not listen to the community, Archer or Senator Kolkhorst. A vote was taken and it was 5-2 in favor of a TASB search firm. At the meeting this week at least 15 members of the community spoke during Public Comment at the Monday night board meeting and implored them to fire TASB. Krenek says community input is so important and we need to listen, but he does not listen. Lange, Sullivan, Raven and Brinkmeyer do not listen either. The community spoke (Lange said, “We have never had this many want to make public comment”), but unfortunately it did not matter. Once again it was a 5-2 vote.

    Lastly, CFO Thad Lasater AND Dr. Tylor Chaplin need to be terminated immediately. What is the board waiting for? More damage? More deficit? Neither are helping to solve the problem. It is growing. Get them out now. Stop the problem and start fresh. Quit wasting time. The deficit is apparently growing by the minute.

  5. I would be ashamed to show my face by allowing it to get this bad, but nope, here we are with them smiling and waving from a school bus they couldn’t afford. I won’t be one bit surprised when the repo man comes and hauls them off.

    It’s time to line up the salaries of the highest paid in the school district and cut those salaries. That will provide some relief. If the job you are doing isn’t essential and you have no contract, you’re out.

    Then start with the electricity and overall spending. A complete freeze on spending that is not necessary for day to day operations is cut.

  6. NEARLY $6 MILLION. Are you kidding me? Does Brenham ISD have Enron’s accounting department now? ENOUGH ALREADY. It’s past due to have a discussion about what matters to this district: new weight room equipment or make due with the functioning pieces. Brenham PD or qualified teachers with the necessary training. Bright and shiny busses, or Durham’s fleet. Fiscal discipline or administrative bloat & micromanagement. Athletics, or academics. The next board election should be interesting.

  7. We have decided to leave Brenham, Not only because of the High Taxes But because Not one single Council member , Commissioner Or school Administration can be trusted They are all running Brenham down soon everyone who can afford Private schools will be taking their kids out of BISD and all that will be left is students who will not have the necessary skills to function in the working world I hate to leave this town I grew up in but My family is too important and The so called “Leaders” of Brenham have no idea how bad they have ruined this once great town

  8. What’s going to happen when teachers can’t be paid??? I guess when the schools close because no one in their right mind will work for nothing, then they will learn! CFO needs to be fired and new positions need to stop being created for spouses and people who are “friends”. Put ALL folks that are educators back into classrooms and decrease those class sizes.

    If attendance is an issue, file on those parents and start making them accountable for things. Too many parents not valuing education and being too lazy to bring the kids to school. Get up and be glad your school and your child’s education is paid for. Soon, it won’t be if it keeps going this way. When you start hitting deadbeat parents in the pocketbook and filing truancy charges then they will wake up.

  9. OK, I’m confused.
    At the Saturday Morning BISD Strategy Meeting at Calvary last week, Board President Natalie Lange was in attendance and I allowed her to make comments to the group. She very specifically stated that there is “technically no declining enrollment” and indicated that “enrollment is increasing” (video available). But the past several School Board Meetings have all been about the lower ADA – upon which significant funding is based. So what am I missing?
    I was at Monday Night’s Board Meeting, but I watched the video again just to confirm what I remembered…
    The Board CFO reports that the projected budget amount was not as much as “was hoped for”.
    Board members are shocked, obviously hearing the $5.8M number for the first time.
    The Superintendent reports that “the demographer’s projections” didn’t hold up, so the numbers were lower than expected.
    Kyle Hafner asked about lower enrollment, and that was confirmed.
    Dr. Chaplin made several comments about various revenue sources or factors that “weren’t what we hoped for”.
    Bonnie Brinkmeyer hit the nail on the head – “we need to find ways to build attendance”.
    It keeps coming back to teachers and students leaving the district – it’s just common sense that BISD needs to find ways to be able to say “you need to keep your kids in BISD BECAUSE….” and have some good solid reasons like “We are an A RATED district” or “Our Academic Scores are steadily climbing”.
    We have GREAT teachers and paraprofessionals – we need to find ways to keep them, and give parents a reason not to take their kids to Burton or Belleville or anywhere else.
    Governor Abbott is currently pushing hard for School Choice — BISD needs to learn how to COMPETE.
    About the only factor over which BISD seems to have control in this is ADA – so – what can be done to, as Bonnie said, “increase enrollment”.

    1. Mr.Sutherland,
      Many concerned citizens like yourself should review the facts of how BISD and numerous rural school districts across Texas have all arrived to their current financial states. Some are just as badly off as BISD. BISD and rural school districts have been slowly starved over by the state over the last twenty five years.
      The Texas constitution demands that the state pay half the cost of what it takes to educate each student, and local taxes pay half. And each year, the state has been paying less of their share than the year before. That is the primary reason for the deficit, but all part of the states long term plan to completely control the “ education” of the states future voters. That, and the fact that it is by the rural voter only that the current party stays in control of the state. The current board president can tell you how the state has managed to avoid their own constitutional duty. If you don’t believe the current board president, please consult with a long time retired board member Mr. Melvin Ehlert, Jr., he would accommodate your questions.
      I agree, any publicly funded organization can and should find every way to control spending and have a conservative budget. Our own Blinn College would be in severe financial straights if not for the cash cow Bryan campus. It is a public college which gets a great deal of state dollars, a large student body attending on the federal dollars and local tax money. Not so for the most important part of a students education, the primary grades.

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        One of the most important things in running any business is determining what costs or revenue streams are actually controllable. Many simply are not.
        On the “cost” side – the Board obviously needs to be much more diligent, including seriously examining the higher salaries in the Central Office.
        On the revenue side, about the ONLY factor the board could actually control is what Bonny Brinkmeyer pointed out — we need to increase enrollment. But how?
        There needs to be an absolute laser focus on creating an environment where parents will WANT to bring their children to BISD, not take them to Burton or Bellville.
        One of the most often cited complaints is “discipline”. Sure, others say “it’s wonderful”, but that doesn’t change the fact that many parents are using that as their reason for running to the exits.
        We need a Superintendent who actually knows how to create an environment where parents will WANT to bring their children to BISD.
        TWO THINGS seem to be major factors here — Discipline and Academic Performance.

    2. Preacher Billy, perhaps you should explain what happened to the great Teacher Appreciation Event you and Preacher Timmy were promoting in the spring. Free dinner for all BISD teachers with $30,000 in door prizes from donations from local “heavy hitters” as you put it. Event was cancelled but you promised in a board meeting that it would be back in the fall “bigger and better than ever”. Well the fall is now and not a word from you or Preacher Timmy about that Teacher Appreciation event. When will that event be held?? Or was that just an empty promise you can’t back up??

    3. The most effective message for building enrollment and attendance at BISD would be “Under New Management.”

  10. I am just a citizen and a taxpayer but if I have 49.20 and I write a check for 55.00 its going to bounce and when it bounced there is a penalty payment. Did anyone ever hear of don’t count your chicken’s before they hatch. Officer Raven got it right embarrassing why cause you keep on writing hot checks. Stop the stupid spending we do if I don’t got it I don’t get it. Poor man economics. Thank you Hafner and Archer hard to hammer nails in knot wood.

  11. So a few months ago the debt was $3.6 million then it jumped to $4.6 million the next month. And then the last meeting the CFO added another million to 5.8 million
    I am no accounting expert but if I was a share holder in a company that went from a 3.6 to 5.8 million in two months I would demand that the CFO be fired !! It is the CFO to say NO we do not have the funds to do this project !! It was very very sad to see that the board had NO clue what the real spending and revenue was for last years budget. I would highly suggest that the board look at every line by line on this years budget and if it is not on the budget then they do approve the expense. As for the the bloated admin. Someone needs to ask why the head football coach’s wife was moved from a teaching position into a NEW admin position. Yep not a replacement position but a brand new position to be hosed in the new “ admin building “ at the old high school on market st. $1.3 million to fix up the old high school building so that they could move some of the admin out of the central office building …. Humm sounds like the entire admin department needs to be looked at with a fine tooth comb.
    And don’t get me started in the coach situation. The stipends were promised by the athletic director went up to $5k for the coaches. And the ridiculous new weight room EQ. So we move the “old” EQ to Jr high and the Jr high EQ was sent off to the scrap yard. … but some of the EQ was in great condition so the company that we bought the new EQ took them so they could sell it as used EQ …….
    I digress
    I believe the current CFO need to be released and we find someone that is not scared to say NO to the board and superintendent

  12. Well Hafner got one thing right: this is unacceptable and you (the board) need to stop relying on anybody else. Somebody needs to say it: the buck stops at YOU, Natalie Lange! This is squarely on you and this board you “lead”. Overestimate your numbers one year, MAYbe two, but three – four- five years? Come on. You know how this works by now. The board is blind to the needs of this district. BLoating central office salaries (thanks, Chaplin and Jackson) but you’re going to cut teachers to save the bottom line?? Typical mentality. I remember the glory days when Mr. Sullivan was principal and his campus kicked BUTT on testing because he was a leader teachers wanted to follow. He created a product teachers and parents wanted to buy and they were successful. They believed in his vision. What’s the vision now? Our school district is swirling the proverbial toilet and nobody has the guts to take the lead and make bold moves. Just follow Ms. Board President into the pipes.

    And before anybody says if I think I can do it better I should run, well, these board members promised us in their campaigns they could do the job so THEY set that expectation! They were voted in to do the job! Don’t let them off the hook that easy!

  13. Wow, and the Spectator thought the budget overrun with Washington County was bad! I’d say put that on the back burner and let’s see why this “suddenly” happened.

  14. I have in mind a scene of a sinking ship, and one person has a teaspoon, the next has a tablespoon, somebody has a small measuring cup, and another person is using their hands, and I think that’s the scenario that the Brenham ISD Board of Trustees is in. Clamoring is always there for higher salaries and so forth, and you can see from the article that those positions are causing much of the problem. While I certainly acknowledge that a teacher with a family does want to maximize their earnings, it also might be worth noting that increased salaries along with increased prices of things are what is driving inflation to a substantial degree worldwide. While some people would say that all of these individuals need to be voted off the board, who would you put on that can solve these problems? I think we are finally seeing that the partial lowering of property taxes so widely touted by our state leaders that will likely occur when the constitutional amendment is addressed in the upcoming election will, in all likelihood, have very little relief in it, as these deficits will continue to chip away workers’ income as well as retirees’ savings.

  15. Why was new weight room a necessity in a year that was already in the red, and not even in the budget. That could have been postponed and put into the budget in another year

  16. I’m sure glad I’m no longer working in this train wreck of a district. No teacher raises but buying new weightroom equipment every few years? The weightroom equipment they had wasn’t very old and it was really nice. The district also had the option of implementing the Guardian program at a fraction of the cost of hiring officers to be at every campus but the board reacted emotionally instead of logically. BISD needs a new school board and new leadership at the top.

    1. Well silly they didn’t go with the Guardian Program because the TASB didn’t recommend it…uh…that’s the same wonderful TASB who they’ve hired to manage the superintendent search and whose been a disaster for education!! And who will help ram another one of their hand picked Superintendents down our throat.

  17. Who gets held accountable for this? No wonder the superintendent is running away. People are tired and broke because of taxes and inflation, yet we watch our government, local and federal, blowing through money as if it doesn’t affect anyone. Hafner said it best…unacceptable.

  18. Well of course it will grow when you write checks without money being there. Lange and this Super needs to go.

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