Adopting a budget for the coming school year and raising property taxes will be discussed by the Crowley school board at its meeting Thursday.
Trustees will likely adopt a $101.3 million budget for the 2011-12 school year with an anticipated $3.7 million shortfall, with the difference to come out of the district's savings, although Superintendent Dan Powell said more budget tightening could reduce the deficit. No new staff reductions will be considered to cut expenses, he added.
Powell said the board will probably wait on setting a new tax rate since the budget will be "our best guess" without final tax figures or a state-approved funding mechanism. The Legislature approved a budget cutting $4 billion from education funding Tuesday. Lawmakers also approved new distribution formulas for public schools.
"We'll come back with an amended budget once we know what our revenues are likely to be," Powell said. "We should have a pretty reasonable update on the budget at the board meeting in July."
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Changes in principals
Besides the budget, the board will vote on several recommended changes in elementary and middle school principals to improve student test scores. The campus administrative shifts are deliberate and based on his Powell's months of working with principals since he became interim and then permanent superintendent, he said.
Teri Conley will be principal at Parkway Elementary School when classes resume in August. Previously she was principal at Hargrave Elementary. Lyndsae Benton will leave H.F. Stevens Middle School to be principal at Crowley Middle School.
Former Parkway Principal Sharon Norwood and former H.F. Stevens Principal Daryle Moffett will be reassigned to other administrative posts.
"We've had two cycles of TAKS data now, and in light of the information we have about everybody and where they are and how their students are doing, we see where we need help and where we're achieving well," he said. "We need to fortify our efforts at Crowley Middle and Parkway Elementary schools."
His objectives are to raise test scores and improve college readiness districtwide, he said.
"Our scores are up, and each year we've been making strides and improvements," he said, "but it's not anywhere near the place where we want to be."
Areas for improvement
Higher SAT scores, more participation in SAT and Advanced Placement testing, and more college credit earned by students are areas where the district could improve, Powell said.
The administrative changes come at a time when teachers are already apprehensive about the deep staff cuts the district has made in the last two years as well as state-level changes in their contract structures.
"I expect it'll be a mixed bag" about how the changes in principals will be accepted, Powell said. "I think at some campuses many teachers will be concerned and apprehensive, and at other campuses they will be more excited about what's coming next."
The budget public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m., with the board meeting at 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in the school administration building, 512 Peach St.
This report includes material from The Associated Press.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657