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School Finance Issues Not Holding Back Some School Districts

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

It's no secret that state lawmakers have been unable to come to an agreement on the school finance issue. In September of 2004, Judge John Dietz ruled the current school finance system unconstitutional and gave lawmakers a deadline of October 1, 2005 to fix the problem.

But that ruling was appealed, making the October 1st deadline null and void. Now lawmakers are waiting from a decision from the Supreme Court.

"We anticipate a decision from the supreme court by the end of this week or early next week," said State Representative Fred Brown, District 14.

In the past two years state legislature has held three special sessions to discuss school finance, but still remain at square one. To keep operations running most school districts, like Bryan, are using the same budget from the previous year.

In August, BISD approved a pay raise for teachers and now they are discussing a raise for the superintendent. With no budget increase, some question how the district paying for it all.

"We had to dip into our reserves, our fund balance, to fund those salary increases," said Sandy Farris, Bryan ISD.

BISD isn't alone, College Station ISD also approved a salary pay raise this year. According to Deputy Superintendent Mike Ball the issues in legislature aren't affecting College Station at all.

"We don't rely on state funding, the local taxpayers really fund the operations for our district. So it really won't put us in a particular cash flow bind," said Mike Ball, College Station ISD.

Representative Brown says that he doesn't anticipate the finance issues going beyond this school year. And that it is highly likely that lawmakers will go into yet, another special session to solve the issues.

"We anticipate we will go back mid March, first of April," said Rep. Brown.


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