By Brian Besch
The Goodrich ISD School Board received a financial update and approved a district improvement plan in the regular meeting for October.
Eric Carver with Axley & Rode gave a financial update on the district. Carver said the audit went well, commending financial officer Sarah Fulcher and the staff.
Goodrich ISD received a clean, unmodified opinion. Carver stated that everything remained similar to the year prior, but cash and Investments were up around $990,000. In 2018, the district’s position was $2.1 million, while this year’s is $5.9 million. Revenues in that same period have gone from $4.7 million to $6.5 million. Property tax increases, along with state and federal funding has been the biggest reason for the steady increase. Expenditures over that time have increased $1.3 million to $5.4 million. Carver said the district has made some nice improvements to the campus, while putting some financial reserve aside.
“It is a tricky time now because we are seeing expenditures increase, but it is also a time to start thinking about future needs and requirements,” Carver said. “Because you do have a very healthy fund level. You need to start thinking about what you are going to do with these funds. You are in a position to make some very healthy long-term decisions.
“Ultimately, the state comptroller wants to control the valuation process. They want to take it away from the county level and potentially go to a statewide property tax. Some of the things they would like to see – they have not publicly said it, but they would like to see consolidated school districts. I think you have to be conscious of it and make sure you have no reason for them to question your ability to continue in what you are doing.
“You are in a difficult situation, where you’re between two larger districts. What you need to think about is what will Goodrich be like in 15-20 years. When (Highway) 69 comes through and the new port facilities in Beaumont are built, you are going to see tremendous growth in this whole area. If you are ready for it and have the facilities and infrastructure, you will continue to exist. If you don’t, they will push for consolidation. They would like to see less local control. Some schools are struggling right now financially, and their hands are tied. They will be some of the first that will have to consolidate.”
The board approved the district improvement plan, which included items such as reroofing the theater, security, adding vestibules to the primary and main entrance, and upgrading air conditioning units. Items to be tackled afterward include electrical upgrades, roofing on the old gym, theatre lighting and sound, as well as carpet and flooring.
In the maintenance update, Goodrich superintendent Daniel Barton said gates have been installed for the campus, and a new air conditioning unit has been installed in the cafeteria.
A new app for parents has allowed easy communication with teachers, as well as checking attendance records and receiving notifications.