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Managing millions, school districts making moves to finalize 2022-2023 budgets

Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 18, 2022

Many Central Texas students are already back in the classroom, but most district administrators have been working through the summer on the budgets for the 2022-2023 school year.

For districts large and small, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to finalizing school budgets. Managing millions of dollars isn't an easy task.

"We're just trying to make sure that we're meeting all the needs that staff have, we go through a process that really begins in January prior to budget adoption," said Dr. Joseph Burns superintendent of Copperas Cove. "And our campuses go through Needs Assessment, provide us with information, and we incorporate that into the budget proposal that we present to the board. "

Dr. Burns said the district's budget for this school year is expected to be around $85 or $90 million in revenue and expenditures.

Copperas Cove ISD is considered a property-poor district, so they go above and beyond for kids in their districts. When it comes to food and transportation, Burns said additional room in the budget had to be added for those two necessities.

"Diesel fuel certainly are up they're still they haven't moderated like gasoline prices have. So we've added extra money to our budget for diesel fuel. We cover about 6000 miles a day with school buses," said Dr. Burns. "Then, of course, food costs, just like we're seeing in the grocery stores for families, those same food costs are being passed on to us as consumers as well. Anytime you get into the healthier choices of food, the things that are not premade that involve more fresh fruits and vegetables, those things are much more costly."

CCISD is also navigating through renovations, with five major projects underway right now. Killeen ISD is doing the same and feeling the impact of inflation too.

"We've got Jimmy Dawn Aycock middle school that will open in 2024," said Taina Maya, the chief marketing and communications officer for Killeen ISD. "The board recently approved this price to be $73 million for construction. Now that same footprint was opened in 2020 Nolan Middle School for $43 million."

For this school year, KISD has a projected budget of $460 million dollars. There are a lot of moving parts to unpack this year's budget. To see the breakdown of the numbersclick here.

Maya said the 2018 bond is near completion, but there will be additional funds left over the district can put to good use.

"To be able to determine how they spend it now," said Maya. "It can only be spent on certain items based on what the voters approved in 2018. So it has to be related to a certain number of things but we will be able to put that back into the district, and really make sure that our campuses as much as we can are keeping up with just everyday wear and tear."

All the kinks and hiccups must be worked out before approval from the district's board of trustees before a final vote. All school districts get funding from three entities: the federal government, the state, and local tax revenue.

John Wilson the Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership at Baylor University said these days most of that money is going to paying employees.

"80 percent of that is going to go to salaries of teachers and the rest of the employees and that’s consistent across the state of Texas," said Wilson. "It may not be exactly that but for every district, that percentage will be in that ballpark."

Killeen ISD will host a public hearing on the proposed budget on August 26th.

Copperas Cove ISD will finalize its budget on August 30th.