Paradise ISD advances with deficit budget

By Jimmy Alford | Published Saturday, August 9, 2014
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Paradise ISD board members are looking at an “austere” budget for the coming school year.

While spending has been reduced, PISD’s 2014-2015 budget will be about $213,000 shy of balanced based on the proposal.

During a board meeting Thursday night, trustees also proposed a tax rate of $1.34 and set a public hearing 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25 for the community to come and discuss the proposed budget and tax rate.

“Before you is a budget that is very austere,” said Robert Criswell, PISD interim Superintendent. “I say austere, but also lean, very lean. Even at that, our expenditures are larger than our revenues.”

According to Criswell, who took the job on an interim basis after Monty Chapman resigned last spring, the bulk of the deficit comes from increases in salaries. He said some vacated positions have gone dark in the district, but necessary spending in other areas wiped out those gains.

Maintenance and operations spending is down 10.44 percent while total expenditures are up 2.75 percent.

“This is a deficit budget. Never in my career have I recommended a deficit budget, but we have one this year,” Criswell said. “That is just the nature of the beast and hopefully we can overcome this at some point in time.”

The proposed $1.34 tax rate includes $1.04 for maintenance and operations and 30 cents for debt service.

Criswell said the district’s financial shortcomings are not untenable and the district still has options moving forward.

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