A declining enrollment has made preparing next year’s budget a daunting task for Larry McGough, Alvarado ISD’s Assistant Superintendent of Finance.
Under the current climate of limited state and federal funds and tightening budgets, keeping student enrollment at its current numbers is an important battle administrators from across the state go through each year.
School funding is dictated by student enrollment as districts receive money from the state based on Average Daily Attendance, or how many students are in class each day. If the number of students declines, the ADA decreases and therefore, the funds diminish.
“While we are concerned with the financial impact, our main concern is the child’s academic well-being,” said Dr. Chester Juroska, Alvarado ISD Superintendent. “When students are not in class they miss that day forever. Make-up work doesn’t really make up for an absence. Otherwise we could merely mail in the lessons.”
With a drop in ADA of over 100 students, coupled with a shortage of allotment funds from the state expected for next year, McGough and his fellow administrators are planning on having nearly $700,000 less in this year’s budget.
Over the summer months, the budget is what McGough refers to as a ‘living document’ and may look somewhat different by the time the School Board has to approve it in late August.
Some of the money the district is losing in special education and career tech funds can be recovered by simply re-naming and re-focusing a handful of classes that are already offered at the high school.
Despite the expected drop in funding for the 2012-2013 school year, the district has been preparing for days of leaner budgets and has a fund balance that is capable of covering any losses.
“We have lived conservatively over the years, yet maintained an excellent academic program,” Juroska said. “That is now paying off.”