Superintendent, Board Feel Deficit can be Curtailed

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – It was the best of times and it was the worst of times during a budget workshop held by the Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday, Aug. 6.

First, the bad news. Early projections for the 2018-2019 school year appear to show the district with a budget deficit of approximately $500,000 for the upcoming school year.

Now, the good news. CISD Superintendent Terry Myers and the CISD Board of Trustees believe the district can generate enough revenue to cover the yearly expenditures. In addition, the district has a significant fund balance which can absorb a loss of revenue without affecting the operation of the school system.

“We really don’t have much in the way of new information to provide,” Myers said at the outset of the workshop. (Acting CISD Business Manager) Tamra (Scroggins) has put together the numbers and they are a little bit better than before (in the district’s first budget meeting).”

Myers next asked Scroggins to provide the board with an update of the district’s budgetary process.

Scroggins informed the board on Aug. 20 “… we will have our budget meeting and proposed tax rate. The tax rate that we propose for the 2018-2019 school year will leave the M&O (maintenance and operations) at $1.04 and the I&S (interest and sinking) at 21 cents. That equals $1.25 and hasn’t changed since the 2013-2014 school year.”

As she continued, Scroggins said the district had budgeted for 1,220 students and estimated collections of $4.354 million in tax revenue. CISD should also receive $6.496 million from the state, she explained.

“If you will flip back to the very last page of your budget,” Scroggins requested of the board, “we were very conservative and as we look at this new budget for 2018-2019 we are estimating – as of today – $512,894 as a deficit. These are working numbers and on the 20th we will have final numbers for you, but this is our working budget at the moment.”

The superintendent stressed the budget was very conservative and would likely change

“We feel like, if something good happens for us, we will be able to make up that deficit. We don’t feel like we will have much of a deficit but if a couple of things crash down on us, we may still have a $100,000 or so deficit but that’s why we have that big fund balance,” he said.

“We can tighten these numbers up and we can make a lot of estimates for you which may or may not work out. I feel we would be setting ourselves up for disappointment, if we did it that way,” Myers added.

The superintendent said several of the revenue numbers plugged into the budget would probably increase and indicated through the budgetary process, conservative estimates were used to flesh out the district’s financial blueprint.

“There are some monies we feel we may receive that are not built in there. We were very conservative with tax revenues. We were very conservative with revenues from athletic events and we were conservative with our interest. This is a work in progress. We want to project tough times – and hopefully – end up in good times. That’s what we want to do,” he said.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.