Beaumont ISD adopts balanced budget

Beaumont ISD adopts balanced budget

Beaumont Independent School District’s Board of Managers adopted a balanced budget Tuesday, Aug. 26, that calls for cuts in many departments.

The plan is to spend upward of $136.2 million on the general fund expenditures during the current 2014-15 fiscal year. The budget adopted by the board is more than $13 million less than what was spent during the immediate past fiscal year, and $32.4 million less than expenditures attributed to BISD in 2012-13 under the ousted Board of Trustees and then-superintendent Timothy Chargois.

Provided in the new BISD budget is not only enough to cover all the school district’s expenses for the current year, but also an $8 million cushion to add to the district’s general fund balance. Removed from what was provided in budgets of the past is busing for afterschool activities.

BISD Communications Specialist Nakisha Myles said after-school travel will be suspended, which includes all activities (i.e. football, cheerleading, drill team, band, etc.), effective Sept. 1. Transportation for after-school activities may be revisited in the future, she added.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 27, transportation for citywide busing for BISD’s Lucas Pre-K program remains in effect but could be cut at a later date.

Cuts were made in the BISD police force budget, overtime allocations, instructional software purchases and summer school funding, among other areas. Increases were allocated for new chillers, added funding in the district’s contribution to the Teacher Retirement System, a rise in unemployment claims, and to pay for a quarter-million dollars worth of corrective action for the Special Education department.

While expenditures approved by the board on Tuesday may be fluid and subject to amendment, Board of Managers President Dr. Jimmy Simmons said the budget is already set at its cap.

“We want the administration to understand that this is the top,” Simmons said. “It only goes down from here.”

Interim Chief Financial Officer Leroy Saleme said that certain initiatives were underway to attempt to bring down the expected budget expenditures for the coming year.

“We’re trying to streamline some functions that will take care of some of the personnel issues that we have,” Saleme said, addressing concerns that some of the employees on the BISD payroll were not approved hires and/or are not even real employees who report to the school district. Aside from taking personnel inventory, Saleme said the district is also instituting measures to exact better controls over real and tangible inventory.