The Wichita Falls Independent School District's Board is facing a financial crunch, with just over a month until school bells start ringing and hallways fill with students.
Assistant Superintendent Tim Powers presented a list of 32 proposed budget reductions to the School Board on Tuesday. The proposed reductions cover multiple non-mandatory programs and departments from Athletics and Transportation to Fine Arts and Maintenance. If the School Board were to approve all the reductions over the next 2 years they would cut $4,480,000 from the budget.
School Board President Kevin Goldstein said, "We've known this has gone on. We've been through the budget process over the last year and it's been tough from what we've been handed from the many state cuts. So it's nothing new that the Board has not already been talking about and what we've been dealing with."
Fifteen to Seventeen non-mandatory services and programs could be cut for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. Powers said, "The hard reality is we have only so much money and so many costs that we have."
Powers and other school administrators stressed that the proposed budget reduction list is only a jumping off point, a way to get started. Powers said, "It's not all or nothing and that's entirely up to the Board. Every one of those items will be considered individually by the Board members."
Under the proposed cuts for this year, The Wichita Falls ISD would eliminate $846,000. Powers said he's confident the Board will be able to approve at least some of the cuts. "I'm very confident that we can. There are very few items on there that have to be considered immediately or in the very near future. Most of those items can be done even after the budgets adopted."
Whether the school district is under budget this upcoming school year, depends on if school staff is given a raise, something many on the Board would like to see happen. Powers said, "If you do not raise salaries because you don't want to cut programs then what you're saying is you want the employees to pay for those programs and I don't think that's right."
Nothing has been voted on or even really debated yet. School Board members opted to thoroughly read the proposals before debating.