Midland ISD Facing Possible $54 Million Budget Problem

Midland ISD Facing Possible $54 Million Budget Problem

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The Midland Independent School District (MISD) has run into some problems with their budget for the 2015-2016 school year. They say it has to do with state funding.

MISD is under the Robin Hood Plan. The Robin Hood Plan is legislation that causes property-wealthy school districts, like MISD, to distribute their property-tax revenue to property-poor districts.

This year, the district is expecting the state to take back almost $54 million dollars from them.

David Garcia, Chief Financial Officer for Midland ISD said, "The $54 million is a recapture number, it's all apart of the funding calculations. The formulas that the state has on how much revenue a school district can generate for the number of kids that it has in enrollment, as well as the property values that the district certifies as on an annual basis."

This legislative session, one bill gave the district an increase of $2.1 million. However, another bill caused the district to take a $2.2 million cut leaving the district with less funding than last year.

"So in essence we've come up a loser out of this legislative session because we're a Chapter 41 school district, and we wound up with a net loss in the state funding formulas of about $100,000," said Garcia.

Because of the economic downturn, school officials are expecting a lower attendance rate this year of roughly 695 fewer students. In order to stay within the budget, the Midland School District is going to have to cut some jobs.

"We have reduced some FTEs, full-time equivalents, in our budget to absorb the loss of in the number of students and we also looked at cutting some administrative positions," said Garcia.

The district is anticipating reducing full-time staff by 80 administrative, teaching and support positions. But even with millions of dollars leaving the district, they don't plan on requesting a tax increase from Midland taxpayers.

"We've worked hard this summer trying to figure out ways that we could get our budget to balance without going to our taxpayers with the tax increase. So, the goal is to keep our tax rate at the same level which would be a $1.04 for our maintenance and operations and 10 cents for our debt service requirements," said Garcia.

The Midland School District says this is a battle they fight each year regarding the district's budget. In September, the Texas Supreme Court will be hearing arguments regarding the lawsuit against the state public school finance system which may affect Midland schools.