Final state school budget ‘hit’ 6 percent

The Texas Legislature finally passed a budget about 6 p.m. bringing a close to a lengthy, and controversial, debate over school funding cuts.

“I don’t have the exact numbers,” Dr. Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD superintendent, told The Reporter Tuesday night. “But it looks like it will be close toa6percentcutthisyearand 2 percent the following year.”

School tr ustees actually passed a budget more than a week ago—before the final state budget was okayed—to meet a deadline.

That budget listed tota l expenditures (all budgets combined) of $14,195, 598, pending final appraisal figures from the Milam County Appraisal District (MCAD) and a template from the state.

The budget is based on a $1.225 tax rate, same as the current rate.

MEETING—Trustees were to have met in a noon Wednesday special session.

Agenda items included resolutions termed by Dr. Wright as “new accounting requirements for audit purposes.”

The meeting was also to include an executive session to hire several new staff members.

LOCAL BUDGET— Even though the tax rate is forecast to remain the same, calculations required by the state indicate taxes on the average residence in the RISD will increase by $27.70.

That’s because the taxable value of the average residence has increased from $65,980 to $68,242.

Taxes on the average residence would increase from $808.26 to $835.96.

Dr. Wright said recently that no additional teacher positions would be cut in the 2011-12 budget.

NO R EDUCTIONS—Also, there don’t appear to be any additional personnel reductions on the horizon.

Key word is “additional.”

The district implemented a teacher retirement incentive program last spring, allowing 2011- 12 planners to know how many positions to budget for.

Funds are being saved by not funding some positions as configured in past terms.

“Early retirement and attrition have taken care of our personnel reductions for this year,” Dr. Wright said.

Dr. Wright said each department and campus is giving up 10 percent of its budget and other cuts have been made.

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