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BISD board looks at $14.7 million budget

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Bandera ISD board received a proposed balanced budget of $14,714,226 from the district's financial manager Tish Grill Monday night. Grill presented the budget outline to the board during a budget workshop held just prior to the board's regular monthly meeting. They will meet next Monday, June 17, to vote on the budget.

For the last several years, the district has struggled to meet federal and state requirements while dealing with steadily decreasing streams of income from both governmental levels.

According to Grill, the only sources of revenue that will increase for the 2013-14 budget will be property tax revenue and federal monies. The federal dollars for the year will only go up by $12,500, however.

Interest revenue, local revenue and state funding will all decrease from last year.

"The budget is balanced," said Grill, "but that does not mean that we have everything we need to operate the budget."

The instruction budget and instruction support make up over 70 percent of the overall budget. The instruction budget includes salaries.

The budget is posited on an average daily attendance (ADA) of 2,200.
Since Bandera ISD is rated a Chapter 41 district, a so-called "wealthy" district, it gets no ASATR funds (Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction).

Balancing the budget was challenged by a slight drop in the ADA, upon which federal and state dollars are based. Bandera ISD's enrollment has shown a slight but steady decrease every year since 2002.

Grill also used attrition to help the bottom line. "We've had to make some cuts in staffing to manage personnel costs," she said.

Unfortunately, the bare bones operating procedure means some key elements get cut. Superintendent Regina Howell explained that some maintenance issues and needed upgrades have been put on the back burner.

"We haven't been able to find the money to buy new buses," said Board President Dr. Barbara Skipper.

"New buses were eliminated [from the budget] two or three years ago and we haven't been able to put them back in," said Grill.