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Longview ISD working budget short by $2.5 million

By Christina Lane
July 26, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Longview ISD's working budget shows a $2.5 million deficit, which will force a withdrawal from the district's fund balance, officials said Tuesday.

"Longview ISD is in better shape, financially, than the majority of school districts in Texas, yet this is the first time in my career that I've had to introduce a deficit budget," said Assistant Superintendent Lynn Marshall.

"This is primarily a result of budget cuts in Austin, although we're losing about a half million dollars in federal funds."

The district is losing $4.73 million in state funding for the 2011-12 year. An additional $500,000 loss of federal funds is causing the district to contend with a total $5.23 million funding decrease, Marshall said. The district is anticipating an additional $5.6 million loss in state funding in 2013.

"We anticipated this shortfall, and we've been working hard to soften the blow," Marshall said. "But there is only so much a school district can do when the state informs you they are slashing what you usually receive by 8 percent."

The district is expecting to use at least $2 million of its approximately $31 million fund balance to balance the budget in the coming school year. Trustees have set a 1 p.m. Aug. 24 meeting to adopt the budget and the 2011-12 tax rate of $1.513 per $100 in taxable property value - the same as this year's tax rate.

"This budget is still a work in progress, and we will continue to look for ways to tweak it - to the advantage of local taxpayers and students," Marshall said. "But, again, we don't have a lot of wiggle room like it is.

"Without eliminating programs and having a negative impact on the instructional process, we will not be able to develop a balanced budget for 2011-2012 and the following year will be much worse."



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