Lubbock, TX (KCBD) - Billions of dollars in potential budget cuts at the state level could send shock waves through school districts across Texas and West Texas school districts are bracing for the possible results.
Lubbock Cooper I.S.D. Superintendent Pat Henderson says millions of state dollars could potentially be cut to education in West Texas. And while nothing is final, the district is preparing for the worse.
"Everybody needs to be ready to cut and cut deep," Pat Henderson says.
How deep? For LCISD the estimated funding cuts are between 4 to 6 million dollars per year over the next 2 years.
"Well 6 million each year is 12 million and that's 40% of our general fund," Henderson continued.
LCISD has a budget of 30 million, 80% of which goes to staff, leaving 6 million for operating costs. Henderson says, "Operating costs can't be decreased that's fuel, utilities, food , supplies."
This means if the school district experience cuts, they lose 40%, the school district would have to start their cuts with staff.
"If it's the worst case scenario then definitely you have to look at personnel and reduction in force but that's something we definitely want to avoid," Henderson said.
The other option is to ask tax payers to vote and see if they can make up some of the missing money there.
"With a tax ratification election, there's about 13 cents there, if you get voter approval but we don't want to do that," Henderson said.
However, the district has Laura Bush Middle School and Central Elementary set to open in the fall so they may not have a choice. Henderson says the Lubbock Cooper district has grown by 109% in the last 11 years that's over 2000 students and they're going to continue to come so they need to open those buildings.
Frenship ISD is also building Heritage Middle School which is set to open this fall, they say they are still on schedule to open and will wait to see how they are affected by the new cuts.
Lubbock ISD also plans to wait for the official budget cut numbers to be released before they make any major decisions. They released this statement : "Personnel costs make up more than 80 percent of Lubbock ISD's budget and we are currently evaluating the potential impact to LISD under best and worst-case scenarios and developing plans for each one."
So the question is will the government help schools out by tapping into the estimated 9 billion dollar Rainy Day Fund?
Pat Henderson hopes they will and says, "if both of us are willing to use those reserves than that's the best case scenario I don't think it's right for school districts to have to use their emergency accounts and the state hold on to theirs for a rainy day, I mean it's raining."
Lubbock Cooper ISD has already offered teachers Early Exit Notification packages which offer them a small severance to retire, move, or quit early. Henderson says school districts across Texas could know how much funding they'll receive by the spring.
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