Paradise trustees call election, discuss budget

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, August 18, 2018
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Paradise ISD trustees called the November election at a special meeting Monday night.

The Nov. 6 election is for places 1 and 2, held by President Homer Mundy and Secretary Shannon Caddell.

Trustees also discussed the upcoming 2018-2019 budget, which is set to be adopted at their Aug. 27 meeting.

Paradise ISD Superintendent Paul Uttley said the budget includes a 2 percent raise from the midpoint for teachers with no adjustment in the district’s contribution for health insurance. Uttley wanted to give teachers a 3 percent raise and increase district insurance contributions from $225 to $275, but said there was not enough money.

“I just hate to overextend ourselves,” Uttley said. “I would love to help our employees out. If our fund balance was exceedingly high, I think we could take a risk and do it. If the student population comes, then we’ll have that money.”

The district’s 2017-2018 expenses were $11,386,859, while its revenue was $11,388,145. This left the district with a $1,286 ending balance, according to the expense sheet posted on its website.

Uttley said ultimately, the decision on insurance and midpoint raises is up to the trustees.

“Again, this is just my advice – you get to do what you want to,” Uttley reiterated. “I think a 2 percent raise is as good as we can do.”

Caddell asked if district could give teachers a bonus at the end of the year if there were enough funds. Uttley said they could not do a bonus, but could approve a salary adjustment with a budget amendment.

“I know we’d love to do a [3 percent raise], but if the money isn’t there, it doesn’t seem smart to promise it,” Caddell said.

Trustees also discussed enrollment figures for 2018-19 as they pertained to the budget.

As of Aug. 9, the district estimated an enrollment of 1,254 students – a 70-student increase from May 25.

“That is a huge increase in enrollment,” Uttley said. “But we have to keep in mind there will be students who withdraw.”

Uttley added although the district expects more students than last year, trustees must take into account average daily attendance (ADA).

Paradise’s ADA rate in 2017-2018 was 95.8 percent. Uttley suggested trustees build the budget around an ADA of 1,125, compared to last year’s ADA of 1,102.

“What they teach you in superintendent school is, don’t over-project your ADA,” Uttley said. “If that growth doesn’t come or students withdraw, then we have built our budget on something we can’t sustain.”

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