New Superintendent Eyes Fewer Budget Cuts

More than 15 departments and programs were on the chopping block after the first round of budget cuts was proposed to the Wichita Falls Independent School District's Board of Trustees. At Thursday's special session, board members learned new Superintendent, Dr. John Frossard, had a different approach to bringing the district into the black.

Dr. Frossard said, "The original cuts proposed were for specific programs that primarily impact students. It's pretty late in the Summer to be doing that. I think it's going to require a little more study. Some of them may be valid, others aren't."

Dr. Frossard's proposed 11 budget cuts. They include adding partial fees for Summer school, holding off on classroom remodeling, eliminating out of state travel for employees and budget reductions for several central offices.

The new superintendent also called for the board to hold off on approving any staff raises until a professional company can asses the district's finances. He said, "Before we finalize the budget, especially in terms of employee raises, I want to make sure that our revenue projections are accurate." Dr. Frossard also added, "I think the employees deserve a raise and apparently they haven't done that here in a while and I think it's about time. I just want to make sure that as we make that decision were making it with our eyes open."

President of the Board of Trustees Kevin Goldstein said, "We understand what they've gone through in the last couple years. Our board has made some hard decisions and ones that have been very unpopular by us as well but we have to do what we have to do. Balancing the budget and making sure that we're providing education for all kids is our number one priority."

Both administrators said there are other ways to give school staff a reward, potentially in the form of stipends or bonuses. If the board votes to approve all 11 of Dr. Frossard's cuts and does not give raises, the district will be under budget by just over $5,000.

Goldstein said, "We're excited about Dr. Frossard being here, he's setting us on the right path and were going to get everything in line. Then were going to make some good decisions for our school district."

The Board of Trustees will meet again at the end of August to finalize the budget.

Jack Lamson, Newschannel 6