Further information about recent budget discussions

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Further information about recent budget discussions
Posted on 06/23/2016

Explanation of current financial conditions:

Beginning in 2014, Calhoun County ISD experienced a significant decrease in tax assessed values. Since 2014, appraised values have dropped more than $500 million dollars which results in an almost $5 million loss in tax revenue that the district is able to collect. The District is only beginning its 2016-17 budget cycle. My proposed budget to the board includes an estimated $1.4 million deficit. The District has approximately $24.4 million in fund balance.

There are a few areas I want to provide clarity on:

The list:

Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees asked me to provide a list of several potential budget reduction options that could potentially balance the $1.4 million proposed budget deficient. The list was to be completed without using fund balance, which is the savings account of the district. As you can imagine, this was a difficult task, particularly since our Administrative team completed budgeting efficiency exercises that produced a 2015-16 budget reduction in excess of $1.3 million. This year’s budget planning initiative centered on the best use of district dollars that provides best student success. We also provided an email address budgetsavings@calcoisd.org for staff and community members to submit ideas for how to save money. Several ideas came in and were presented to the board.

Sometimes in business, when a large budget cut is necessary, reductions in workforce may be considered. The Board and I both agree that this is not a time for a Reduction In Force for CCISD, so that proposition was not considered.

Based on those parameters, I made a list of possible reductions and that list is included with the rest of the June board meeting reference material published on the District website. The information has been provided to local newspapers. I want to be as transparent as possible during this process.

I want the public to understand that the list is not a TO-DO list. We will look at the budget from all angles and make conscience decisions about things that are important to have successful students. 

The June Board Meeting:

The Port Lavaca Wave covered and published an article summarizing the meeting’s key topics, including budget discussion. The items in the list described above were discussed in the newspaper article. No action was taken by the Board, but the Board has asked me to look more closely at two of the items listed, which involve the sale of land on Sandcrab Blvd. and canceling our membership of the Texas School Coalition. During the meeting, the Board and I both expressed that most of the items included on the proposed list of cost savings did not need to be pursued at this time.

Concerning Port O’Connor Elementary:

When times get tough financially, we are forced to think about things that we don’t want or like to think about. We strive to make the best decisions possible for serving our students and community. Due to the outstanding academic achievement and success of students and staff at Port O’Connor Elementary, closing the campus is not in any current plan.

Here is what is happening at Port O’Connor Elementary…

Plans are being finalized to redesign the office and teacher workroom areas this summer. All light fixtures are scheduled to be retrofitted with LED this summer. New student and staff furniture has been ordered and will arrive and be installed in early August. Security upgrades, including cameras and new door locks are expected to be completed in August. The gym floor was recently refinished and looks great. Based on previous board approval, Rawley McCoy and Associates will complete the architectural drawings necessary to renovate the front wing of classrooms. I anticipate that in early 2017, bid packages will be released so that the renovation will be completed during the summer of 2017

As you can see, both the Board and I continue to support investments at Port O’Connor Elementary.

What you can do to support and assist Calhoun County ISD:

Enrollment and attendance numbers play an important role in school funding. Encourage your children, grandchildren and other school-aged children to attend school every day. Encourage your friends and family to move and enroll their children in Calhoun County ISD.

Anyone with ideas and suggestions for how the district can be more efficient and potentially save money, please communicate with me. I have an email address specifically set up for sharing ideas. Please email budgetsavings@calcoisd.org or make an appointment to come visit with me. I look forward to hearing from our community.

At Calhoun County ISD, we strive for financial transparency. If you have a question about something or if something you hear doesn’t sound correct, please contact the appropriate school official for the facts.

Thank you for your continued support in making Calhoun County ISD a successful district.