Editorials

Look to superintendent for budget leadership

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

School board picked Kent Scribner in August to be Fort Worth district’s new superintendent.
School board picked Kent Scribner in August to be Fort Worth district’s new superintendent. Star-Telegram

Fort Worth school trustees shouldn’t get ahead of themselves in making decisions about next year’s budget.

The trustees got a bit of bad news at a recent board workshop. Chief Financial Officer Elsie Schiro said they may have to draw down $19 million in reserve funds in order to balance an expected $744 million in spending in the 2016-17 school year.

That would make two years in a row the district dipped into savings. The draw down this year was $21 million.

Schiro said the district isn’t getting enough revenue from new students to support its specialty programs.

That prompted Trustee Judy Needham to say, “We probably shouldn’t add any more programs for a while.”

Maybe not, but it’s too early to say. The budget won’t be finalized until June.

Trustees should expect their new hire, Superintendent Kent Scribner, to lay out his vision for budget priorities.

Scribner, who officially came on board Oct. 15, has revamped his top administrative staff to shift $1.3 million to struggling schools.

The specialty programs can heighten student interest and trim dropout rates. Some 6,000 students sought spots in those programs in the most recent application period.

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