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Gladewater ISD adopts deficit plan for budget

By Meredith Shamburger
Aug. 11, 2017 at 12:05 a.m.

Sedric Clark is the new superintendent at Gladewater ISD. (Meredith Shamburger/News-Journal Photo)

Gladewater ISD has adopted a 2017-18 budget with a $460,511 deficit, but district officials hope to end the year in the black.

The approximately $16.7 spending plan keeps the district's tax rate at $1.565 per $100 valuation — $1.17 for the maintenance and operations side and 39.5 cents for the debt side. It also adds six teachers and a human resources position that previously were eliminated.

"We ended the 2016-17 school year in the black even though we adopted a deficit budget," said Superintendent Sedric Clark, who was hired in March. "So we've adopted a deficit budget for 2017-18 hoping, believing that we will be in the black by the time we get to the end. ... We're watching every penny, squeezing every dime that we can to make sure we come in in the black this year."

Gladewater ISD will see about $16.4 million in revenue for 2017-18, which is up from about $15.7 million in 2016-17. Clark said the adopted deficit budget was not a first for the district. The 2016-17 budget started at $363,091 over budget and ended in the black.

"It's never pleasant to adopt a deficit budget, but looking at the history for the past two years ... we've budgeted for what we need for kids," he said. "Then we make it work."

The added teacher positions will be at different campuses throughout the district, while the human resource position is within the central office. Clark said this year's budget does not include raises for teachers, but the district is looking into ways it can better compensate its employees as it continues to work with limited funds.

"We're looking to see how we can make it happen and how we can make more happen for our employees," he said.

The adopted budget also doesn't contain any additional money for construction or maintenance projects; Clark said the district is still "reaping the benefits of the (2014) bond election."

"We're still spending some of that bond money as we see things that have to be dedicated to those schools," he said. "We added some sidewalks, some ramps here recently through that bond package at those schools that hadn't been done before, so we're still looking and seeing what needs to be done with that money. Of course, we're maintaining our facilities, but that's with the funds we already have."

In the end, Clark said the district is focused on using the money it has wisely.

"We're focusing on using what we have to making it come in right in the end," he said.

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