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If football fans are willing to pick up their own nacho bowls and throw away their own cups, Mildred ISD can make its budget without dipping into reserves, according to a budget workshop conducted Monday evening.
After nearly an hour and a half of trimming the budget by fractions and hairs, the school board got the budget balanced, but may still need to raise the tax rate by a penny.
If the tax rate is raised, a taxpayer with a $100,000 home will pay an additional $10.26 more in property taxes this year. It will raise $41,000 for the school district.
The proposed budget, as of Monday evening, was $7,863,674. Mildred has been below the state’s maximum local property rate of $1.04 for years. The proposed increase will bring the district up to maximum on the maintenance and operations, and at 25 cents for the interest and sinking, which is the portion of the tax rate that pays for district debt. The total proposed tax rate will be $1.29 for every $100 in appraised property value.
The district cut 22 positions last April, anticipating a $700,000 budget shortfall. When the trustees went into the workshop meeting Monday, the district was still looking at a $200,000 deficit.
Then the cutting began with a proposed $10,000 ag trailer, $8,000 for supplemental insurance, putting a new bus on a three-year note instead of two-years, and half a custodian position.
Teachers will still get their step raises, a state requirement, but all staffers will get a one-time bonus of 1 1/2 percent. Originally proposed to be 3 percent, that was another of the sacrifices made at the meeting.
“It was not painless, but we got there,” said Bradley Boyte, president of the board.
The district dipped into its fund balance or reserves last year to balance the budget, and it was board member Michael Cook who argued against using the reserves again.
“We can’t keep deficit spending,” Cook said. “The problem is that if we do that for four years we’ll be broke.”
If the district doesn’t make any other substantive changes to the budget, it will still have a reserve fund of about $700,000 going into 2013.
In addition to cutting staff, the district also changed its electricity provider, cut cell phones, changed coffee service and uniform services, and switched to Office Depot for office supplies.
“These are all just simple kind of things,” said Superintendent Becky Burns. “But just these little things add up.”
One of the items debated was whether or not to include enough money to add back in one custodian to help with clean-up after football games. Instead, they chose to put in the cost of half of a custodian, and to ask for help with clean-ups.
“We need to give the community a chance to step up,” said Sandy Watts, board member.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com