MISD Proposes "Balanced" Budget

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - At their meeting on Tuesday night, the Midland ISD Board of Trustees met to assess the damage of what state budget cuts would cost them.

A proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was proposed, facing less money cuts than they originally thought.

"We were estimated about $12 million," MISD Chief Financial Officer, David Garcia, said. "When we get it down to between $8-10 million, we were right on target with respect to some of the preliminary cuts that we're looking at."

Instead, they face a cut of $9 million.

Their proposal predicts they will balance the budget without having to raise the tax rate.

"I did not want to make cuts," MISD Superintendent, Dr. Ryder Warren, said. "I don't think our budget had a lot of fat in it to begin with. What I am the most proud of is the way the staff and the school board came together to deal with these cuts and to make this plan that's going to make this budget work and there were some very non-negotiable goals that we had with this budget."

Another way they've balanced the budget is through staff reductions due to attrition and breaking apart other centralized positions, making more employees function in more roles.

But light is on the horizon now that the federal jobs bill for the state has been approved, especially for the district's 3,000 employees.

"For us, that provides about $3.3 million in our budget that we're going to utilize to provide a salary increase for all staff," Garcia said.

"The 1.5% pay increase to all staff members I thought was very, very important to just say thank you to our staff members," Warren said.

Another item approved in the meeting takes seven school buses out of commission and brings in seven new eco-friendly, propane-powered buses and a fueling station.

The buses will be up and running this December and school officials will use the Spring of 2012 to see how they stack up against the current models.

"We can compare that to the operation of our gasoline-powered buses, and so from that hopefully this will give us an opportunity, if it's feasible, for us to continue to add propane-powered school buses to our bus fleet," MISD Assistant Superintendent, Ed Zachary, said.

Only time will tell if this proposed budget can do the trick.

The budget battles aren't over yet, final approval of a budget won't come until August 23rd.