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2011-01-27 digital edition

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2011-01-27 / Front Page

LISD Facing Funding Cuts

Lexington ISD, along with all school districts in the State, are facing potential budget shortfalls due to expected funding cuts by the state legislature.

The Lexington ISD Board of Trustees met this past Monday evening to discuss the impact of the state budget shortfall on Lexington schools. LISD officials are concerned about what a House budget bill released last week would mean to the district.

LISD Superintendent Dr. Frances McArthur said, “The proposed bill contains a $9.8 billion reduction in funds to the Foundation School Program, according to Texas Education Agency estimates. The senate bill released earlier this week includes a $9.3 billion cut to public schools. While these “baseline budgets” will change between January and May and these releases are considered worst case scenarios, there is no doubt that public education across the state will be hit hard.”

“ In anticipation of cuts to Lexington ISD’s state revenue, our administration has been looking at all district operations to see where potential spending can be reduced. Vacancies in nonclassroom teaching positions have already been reduced.”

At this week’s budget workshop, LISD trustees reviewed budget goals and discussed parameters for Dr. McArthur and her staff to follow as they prepare several budgets reflecting both a 5% expenditure reduction and a seven percent reduction.

One of the goals is to try to reduce the budget again this year by managing vacancies as much as possible. As the district faces the tough choices of cutting programs or increasing class size, trustee, Joe Green said, “Perhaps the District should follow the lead of corporations who have managed drastic cuts successfully by soliciting input from employees for ideas to reduce spending.”

Dr. McArthur agreed that staff input is critical during difficult times and she will be asking teachers for ideas before the district leadership meets February 8.

Trustees also discussed the need to find other sources of revenue. Dr. McArthur said, “With the current funding formula for public education, the only way to significantly increase revenue is with more students. Unfortunately, Lexington has been on a downhill trend of decreasing enrollment for the past six years. Trustees are looking at some tough choices regarding the possibility of accepting student transfers in the future. Intra district transfers will be discussed at the regular February board meeting as well as the possibility of putting advertisements on busses.”

She concluded, “One of the goals proposed that was unanimously supported by trustees was to consider every option available in order to minimize the impact of budget cuts on instruction. We will continue to take care of LISD staff so that we can recruit and retain innovative and energized educators to provide strong instruction so that all of our students exit our system college and career ready.”

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