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District looks to make up funding shortfall

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Photo by Tony FarkasPhoto by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD will meet this week to discuss funding shortfalls created by a recent ruling by the State Comptroller’s Office.

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton said the district’s tax attorneys Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott will be fighting the decision regarding valuation, trying to get the district into an area that would not affect its income.

The State Comptroller’s Office performed a review in January of San Jacinto County Appraisal District’s property valuations, which led to a discrepancy that would mean school districts would receive less state aid.

The more funding a district receives from property taxes, the less it receives in state aid; while the Appraisal District determined values of $564 million in the county, the Comptroller’s Office in its study determined values of $606 million.

If the difference falls within 5 percent either way, there would be no change.

Taulton said that currently, the district is looking at a $1.8 million hit, and that 80 percent of districts throughout the state will face a shortfall.

Those budget impacts will happen right now, Taulton said, so the board is looking at ways to save, such as saving money through attrition and budget cuts.

“We will limit spending such as traveling, and really make decision based on needs vs. wants,” he said.

In a separate matter at the Feb. 26 board meeting, the board approved canceling the trustee election, since there are no contested positions.

Taulton said that Alec McGowen and William Baker will retain their positions.

In other business, the board:

•approved a pay incentive of $1,000 to elementary and secondary teachers who win teacher of the year;

•approved changes to the school calendar to make up for days lost to weather. April 5 will be a half day to make up lost time;

•approved creation of an ESL language lab;

•approved changes to the school legal policies; and

•approved personnel changes.

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