At a June 27 budget meeting, Keller school board members approved almost $6 million in additions to the 2013-14 spending plan, most of the funds restoring cuts made two years ago.Trustees approved about $3.8 million, primarily for staffing, at last month’s budget workshop. With those adjustments, school district officials are projecting a $10.6 million deficit next year compared to a $12 million deficit this year. Administrators now project this year’s shortfall to be $9 million to $10 million, money that will be withdrawn from the district’s sizable savings.“What’s relevant to me is we projected a $12 million deficit and come in at $9 million,” said Trustee Craig Allen. “Even as we deficit spend, we’re being careful and frugal and thrifty.”About half of this year’s deficit has items that carry over to next year. With 3 percent of mid-point raises for every employee in the district, additional staff members and longer contracts for some hourly workers in 2013-14, the total shortfall is estimated at about $24.7 million. Administrators are relying on $12.2 million in additional state revenue and several other improved funding sources to offset the deficit.The largest item on last week’s list was $950,000 for 38 campus support staffers, one for each school. Superintendent Randy Reid said the hourly campus workers could assist in libraries and as cafeteria monitors, both areas of deep reductions two years ago. The extra help was a top priority for principals who will be able to use the staff member wherever they have needs, Reid said.Many of the approved items impact secondary campuses and extra-curricular activities which were particularly hard hit by the 2011 budget cuts. Trustees approved additional assistant coaches in most sports and for cheer and drill teams and restored middle school soccer and swimming. Added athletic stipends total about $390,000. They also brought back contract labor for high school bands, choirs and theatre departments for about $160,000.With all those coaching positions comes the need for seven additional high school teachers and two more middle school teachers because of the athletics period assigned to assistants who are in academic classrooms for the rest of the school day. Additional teachers, substitutes and stipends for other extra programs come to about $620,000.Officials also are spending about $550,000 on extra shuttle buses for bilingual, pre-kindergarten and career and technical students. The bilingual and pre-kindergarten programs are growing, and those children who live further than two miles from program campuses must receive bus service. The career and technical busing would be for students who attend auto tech, cosmetology and veterinary tech programs at the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning.Board members also approved $700,000 for an annual contract lease payment to Dell for teacher laptops, $300,000 to replace lost federal funds in special education and $150,000 for three new security specialists (one at the Learning Center and two mobile positions), vehicles for the mobile specialists and police lock boxes for every KISD facility.Another budget meeting is scheduled for July 25. Trustees must approve the 2013-14 plan by Aug. 31.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland