Monday night, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Teresa Thomas told Waxahachie ISD board members she’s been able to prepare a balanced budget for the 2011-2012 school year, but has serious concerns about 2012-2013.

Thomas noted state funding has been decreased and the federal money the state had used to supplement its decreased funding to school districts – stimulus funding in 2010-2011 and Edujobs funding in 2011-2012 – won’t be there.

Certified values within WISD also have gone down, from $2,795,858,079 last July to $2,779,853,166 this July, she said, noting that the district has cut $360,840 in non-personnel expenses from the 2011-2012 budget.

The salary portion of the budget has increased, but that’s because more teachers have been hired to handle the district’s student growth. There are no raises in the 2011-2012 budget, she said, saying the district will keep the same tax rate as adopted in 2010-2011: $1.4289 per $100 of valuation.

Actions taken in this past legislative session in Austin will lead again to litigation by school districts against the state, she said.

“We expect to see (a lawsuit filed) sometime in September. But who knows what the outcome will be?” she said, noting the last lawsuit ultimately led to the current situation with state funding.

Texas already faces a $15 billion shortfall for the next biennium, with Thomas saying, “Public education has become the tool that legislators use to balance the state budget.”

She cautioned trustees of hard decisions ahead, saying while the district is OK for 2011-2012, it will be tough the year after, noting that’s when the district may have to consider these possibilities:

• elimination of block scheduling

• elimination of positions

• elimination of programs, extra-curricular activities, elective courses or a combination of those

• an evaluation of transportation and possible charge to ride

• furlough days for staff members

“This next year is going to be the scary year,” she said.

WISD is proposing a general operating budget of $52,797,978 for 2011-2012, which includes state funding of about $5,600 per regular-education student.

Trustees will hold a public hearing and vote on the budget Aug. 15.

Contact JoAnn at joann@wninews.com or 469-517-1452.