El Paso

Chief Financial Officer has warning for SISD

SISD preparing 2017-2018 budget

SISD working on 2017-1018 budget

EL PASO, Texas - Socorro Independent School District got some sobering news at a meeting Thursday night to begin work on the 2017-2018 budget.

The district's chief financial officer, Tony Reza, had a warning for the board.

"Historically, the state's share of public-education funding has gone down somewhat -- from about 48 percent back in the early 2000s to about 38 percent by 2019 if nothing is done with respect to public-education and the basic allotment."

That was the message Reza wanted to make sure the board heard loud and clear.

The Texas Supreme Court last summer ruled the state's school-finance system is flawed but still barely constitutional.

If the state's share of public-education funding continues to drop, Reza said the district could be faced with some tough decisions.

"Either you try to raise the tax rate or you make adjustments. It's not fair, in my opinion."

A bipartisan bill pumping $1.6 billion extra into classrooms -- as part of small but important changes to how Texas funds public education --  is headed to the full state House. The proposal would  increase per-student funding by about $200.

"It it goes through fruition, we are projected an initial $5 million for SISD," Reza said.

But the district faces another potential challenge.

"We've been growing significantly, we've started to flat-line a little bit - then all of a sudden we saw another spike. But what our consultants are telling us is that they are projecting a little bit of a slowdown in our growth for the next coming years," Reza said.

That would have an impact on the district's total projected revenues. 

It is plenty of food for thought as the SISD Board of Trustees sets its sites on next year's budget.

The trustees though are questioning their consulant's findings. The distict is asking the consultants to come back and show them again why they are projecting a drop in  enrollment -- because their numbers are telling a different story. 


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