NEWS HEADLINES

Deficit budget to include salary boosts

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boyd ISD trustees are facing a budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

Projected revenue is $10,726,644 while proposed expenditures total $10,906,226 for a deficit of $179,582.

But they’re OK with it.

For one thing, the district’s savings of approximately $6 million could easily absorb the anticipated shortfall, which is lower than the $182,000 outstanding amount expected for the current fiscal year.

“We have a healthy fund balance for a district our size,” Superintendent Ted West said. “When you hear deficit, we all know that means we’re spending more than we’re bringing in, and one of the reasons I feel confident we can do that is because of where our fund balance is right now.”

About 78 percent of the $10,906,226 in proposed expenditures funnels into payroll – $289,000 more than was allotted last year.

Most of that increase is due to the raises approved for all Boyd ISD employees.

In May, the district completely revamped its pay scale for teachers, increasing pay grades up to 14.5 percent. The next month, trustees approved 3-percent raises for paraprofessionals, and last week granted administrator salary increases.

“Every person in this district is getting a pay raise next year, which is huge,” West said.

“And it [the budget shortfall] is worth it to take care of our own,” Trustee Jason Hammon said.

The amount balanced out some because there were about nine retirements, West added.

REVENUE

Certified property tax values were up about $30 million more than anticipated, due to mineral values.

However, West pointed out that since local revenue is up, the state’s contribution drops.

Money expected to come in, and its source, is as follows:

  • $9,301,627 – local (property taxes)
  • $1,325,017 – state (based on what programs students are enrolled in)
  • $100,000 – federal.

CHAPTER 41

As a Chapter 41, property-wealthy district, Boyd ISD is required to pay an amount based on the district’s property value and Weighted Average Daily Attendance (which takes into account the number of students enrolled, their daily attendance rate and the classes and programs they are enrolled in).

This year, the district anticipates owing $83,824, which will be taken from the state’s contribution.

“It’s not like we have to send it back to them,” West said. “They just withhold it from us.”

Board President Ernest Partin said the amount has been as high as $500,000. Implementing an open transfer policy, which allows kids who live outside the district to attend BISD schools without paying tuition, has helped.

REDUCTIONS

District officials did identify a few areas where they can cut corners.

The transportation fund shows a $67,000 decrease due to the consolidation of bus routes and eliminating a middle-of-the-day route to Bridgeport for special education services.

“We’ll have one bus that’ll go over in the morning, one bus that will go over in the afternoon,” West said. “But we felt kids that were eligible to be there for half-a-day, there’s no reason why they can’t be here a full day.”

Restructuring in library staffing yielded another $10,000 savings.

In addition, there is no money budgeted for new tech equipment or capital outlay.

“We’ve still got money in the bank if we need to do things, if we want to build something new,” West said.

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The budget will be presented at the board’s next meeting, Monday, Aug. 18.

“It’s a pretty lean budget,” West said. “The days of coming in a million dollars under budget are over. When we were doing those things, there was padding in those budgets so it was easy. This budget that we’re talking about for next year, that’s not in there. There’s just no way. With all of the extra things we’ve committed to with salaries, with programs, the days of coming 10 percent under budget, it’s just not happening.

“But we’re going to do everything we can to keep a lid on it.”

MORE NEW HIRES

Following the budget workshop Monday, the Boyd school board hired two additional teachers:

  • Sean Hollis, middle school coach;
  • Stephanie Calkins, fourth-grade science.

At its meeting last week, the board hired 12 other staff members.

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