2018-04-14 / News

School budget is guessing game

Cameron County School District is facing a shortfall of approximately $360,000 as board members and ad­ministrators continue to craft their 2018-19 operating bud­get. Expenditures currently stand at $12.73 million.

As in past years, Business Manager Carl Mitchell told directors that the unsettled state budget is forcing dis­tricts to guess at what kind of subsidy will be coming from Harrisburg.

“State funding looks like it will increase minimally this year,” Mitchell said. “We have to adopt a budget based on the original fund­ing amount we’re projected to receive, but the amount actually allocated is usually less.”

A number of cuts are still under consideration as the school board moves closer to the June 30 deadline to have its spending plan in place. No significant staffing cuts are expected.

As usual, salary and ben­efit expenses are the primary drivers of the projected bud­get increase.

A new contract with the teachers’ union approved last summer provided for a 2.3-percent annual pay increase.

Other expenses that have swelled the budget are an 11.2-percent hike in health insurance costs and a 2.9-percent increase in pen­sion fund payments.

Board members are ex­pected to vote on a tentative budget and real estate tax rate at their May 10 public business meeting.

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