McAllen ISD facing $13.7 million budget deficit

dfwnewsa | February 14, 2024 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News

McAllen ISD facing .7 million budget deficit

The McAllen ISD school board held its first workshop for the 2024-25 budget Monday with board members asking questions about an expected deficit while expressing their opinions on possible solutions to help mitigate it.

The first workshop covered the overall broad areas in the budget such as student enrollment trends, ESSER II and III funds, the general fund balance, budget requirements, tax rate history, a historical personnel report, staffing guidelines, compensation plans and other cost saving options.

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Deputy Superintendent Lorean Garcia gave the presentation, in which the 2024-2025 fiscal year is projected to have a deficit of $13,786,072 based on the 2023-2024 budgeted expenditures of $249,744,373 and a 2024-2025 budgeted revenue of $235,958,301.

Garcia showed the different ways to mitigate the $13 million deficit, with one way being the amount available from ESSER projects and moving them to the general fund balance.

The presentation showed ESSER II local committed funds of $13,340,069 and ESSER IIII funds of $13,350,818 could bring a projected increase to the fund balance of $20,141,625.

Among ESSER II projects is the Quinta Mazatlan and IMAS project budgets which is still an ongoing item to be discussed between the school district and the city. Currently, the budget for Quinta Mazatlan is $4 million with ESSER allocated expenses being $959,159.57 and $3,040,830.41 still available in the balance.

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The IMAS project has a budget of $2 million with allocated expenses being $686,001 and $1,313,999 available in the balance.

Other cost saving options presented were surrounding staff travel, overtime, software programs, multi-age Pre-K through 1st, and the repurposing of staff vacancies.

McAllen ISD Superintendent René Gutiérrez said the budget recommendations are fluid as the board moves on in the next couple of months to finalize the budget by June.

McAllen ISD superintendent René Gutiérrez poses in the board room at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

“We wanted to give you an idea of the items we are looking at, the changes we are proposing, and we’re going to be looking at how much it is going to cost us,” Gutiérrez said. “We’re trying to stay a little bit competitive with everyone around us … but also to stay within the means of our budget.”

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In the second budget workshop, he said the board will go over staffing patterns in a report through a staff study.

“We need to … consider some positions, through attrition, closing them when people are resigning, retiring or moving on in the name of trying to stay within budget,” Gutiérrez said.

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School board President Debbie Crane Aliseda attended the workshop via Zoom and said she hopes moving forward in budget workshops that the board is cognizant of the per student cost and that each student and each program is funded in an equitable way such as fine arts and athletics.

McAllen ISD school board President Debbie Crane Aliseda listens during a meeting at the McAllen Public Schools Administration building on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

“When we went across the board and cut a percentage, that’s kind of based on the false assumption that everybody is already funded equitably and we don’t know that,” Aliseda said. “Some departments are very lean and other departments aren’t. So I hope that we put into the calculations a per student cost … per tournament, per UIL activity, per travel … I think that needs to be put into account when we’re looking at the budget and cutting programs.”

The presentation also reviewed the enrollment trend in the district which is falling. The 2025 projection for student enrollment is 19,585, down 814 students.

The presentation also featured the total number of inbound and outbound transfers for McAllen ISD. Just like other school districts losing enrollment in Region 1, McAllen had 4,939 total outbound transfers. IDEA Public Schools accounted for 2,479 of the transfers with South Texas ISD accounting for 531 transfers.

For inbound transfers, McAllen ISD had 2,406 total with Edinburg CISD accounting for 963 of the transfers. The difference between the inbound and outbound is a net loss of 2,533 student transfers.

The post McAllen ISD facing $13.7 million budget deficit appeared first on MyRGV.com.

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