School might be out for Ector County students, but that doesn't mean the people who operate the district get to take a break!
Today, the ECISD school board met to talk about finances and the challenges they face when finalizing next year's budget.
ECISD faces this two-fold challenge; the cost to operate a district is sky-rocketing, but they can't increase their revenue at the same rate because the state says they can't. So, basically they're playing catch up.
For lack of better words, ECISD along with many other districts are in-between a rock and a hard place because they can't increase their revenue fast enough.
"As a result, they’re having to or being forced to live outside their fund balance to pay for operational expenses," says Consultant Doug Karr.
Come to find out, ECISD isn't getting less money, they're actually getting more.
"It's just that the target revenue limits or caps the money they can have," says Karr.
So, how does the district keep up with operational costs, especially when cost is driven by things like school enrollment?
"The kids aren’t going up at a rate fast enough to off-set the cost that is driven by the current economic situation," explains Karr.
One board member suggested a bond issue. But, of course, a bond issue has a downfall. Under the capped revenue system, the big ticket item that ECISD spends its most money on is teacher salary, about 82%.
"You can not do a bond issue on teacher salaries. So, even though we shift some of the debt service side of the equation they're still left with that 82% of the salaries they've got to pay," says Karr.
Bottom line, it costs more to run a school district these days. A question everyone is probably wondering, how does this budget meeting affect me? This year, Ector County tax payers most likely won’t see a change. It's the following school year where the board could introduce a bond issue or even a tax rate election and that's when you could see an increase in your taxes.