C-P budget cuts may put fund balance in the black

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 22, 2007 - If all goes well, Como-Pickton's bleak budget outlook may be a lot brighter than was once thought.

A letter from Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Sandra Billodeau to the Texas Education Agency indicated budget cuts could leave the district several hundred thousand dollars in the black next year.

"We anticipate that it is possible to develop a budget for the 2007-2008 school year with approximately $300,000 unencumbered funds," Billodeau wrote in the letter dated June 13.

The correspondence came in response to a request from the state agency requesting projections for the school district's general fund balance as of Aug. 31, 2007, and an update on the plan C-P CISD is developing to prevent a potential fund deficit.

Billodeau wrote that she and Business Manager Lenise Boseman have been working with Fred Wilkerson of Regional VIII Education Service Center to develop a plan to address the fund balance and develop a budget for the upcoming school year.

Without final weighted average daily attendance revenue numbers, projecting the fund balance "is difficult," Billodeau wrote, but cited measures the district has taken to cut costs as reasons to believe the district can avoid a deficit

"In planning the budget for the 2007-2008 school year, we have been able to reduce personnel costs by $375,000. This was possible due to administration and program personnel reductions," she wrote. "Reductions in incentive pay, stipends, and extra-duty pay result in an additional decrease of $73,000."

Other miscellaneous expenditures that will not recur in the coming year's budget amount to an estimated $300,000, she added, and measures have been taken to decrease "significant losses" in food service.

School board members also voted this month to drop soccer, golf and powerlifting from the district's athletic program, cutting an additional $30,537.76 in expenditures.

Billodeau also indicated the school board may consider raising tax rates or calling a bond election to raise money to make the $430,000 annual facilities payment currently coming out of the maintenance and operations funds.

School board member Tom Hendricks asked at the June meeting whether calling for a bond for that purpose would put the district on more sound financial ground.

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