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Kilgore ISD trustees approve budget

By Glenn Evans
Aug. 28, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Kilgore school trustees adopted a $33.2 million budget Monday that will be balanced by pulling $766,000 from the district's reserve account.

The board also approved a tax rate just below $1.31 per $100 property value, unchanged from this past year's levy. The rate will bring in about the same amount of money thanks to divergent property values in the school district's two counties.

"Rusk County actually bailed us out," Assistant Superintendent of Finance Revard Pfeffer said Tuesday. "We're down a little bit in Gregg County, but we're up a little bit in Rusk County. It's going to bring in approximately the same amount."

The state's contribution to the district, however, is projected to fall about $800,000 for a Kilgore student population expected to reach 3,800 by next week.

That's roughly equal to the budget's deficit, which the district will make up from reserve funds expected to be $9.2 million by the end of this fiscal year on Friday.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the budget and tax rate, Pfeffer reported.

The spending plan does not include employee raises, but it does have a one-time stipend of up to $800, depending on employees' weekly hour load.

The stipend approach has become popular this budget-writing season with school boards wary of locking into financial commitments before lawmakers, who cut $4 billion from schools the past two years, convene in January.

"A lot of teachers haven't had a significant raise in four years," Pfeffer said. "With the dropping of state funding, our school districts are fighting to stay alive."

Debt payments due this coming year total $4.3 million. That amount, plus $1.9 million set aside to pay for the food service, are separate from the $27 million operations budget.

Property taxes and lesser local sources fuel almost $23 million of total spending, which includes debt retirement. The state is expected to contribute $8.1 million with all but $250,000 of $1.5 million expected from federal sources dedicated to the food service program.



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