Navasota Board Meeting Still Leaves Uncertainty For Many

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At the Navasota ISD board meeting Monday night, officials declared the two critical reasons to fuel job cuts: the overwhelming cost of electricity and utilities.

In an effort to reduce the two, the school board discussed starting the school day 30 minutes earlier. If the plan is implemented, some Navasota students could be dropped off at school as early as 7 a.m.

District officials said a handful of students are already dropped off between 6:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. throughout the year. Starting the school day a half hour ahead of schedule could potentially lead to a reduction in electricity use, and also a tighter transportation route.

In 2005 The Texas Legislature voted to pass House Bill 1, or HB-1, which capped funding for school districts at the amount received per student in 2005. The revenue Navasota ISD received is based on an average daily attendance per student. Meaning, the more absences from students, the less revenue or funding the school receives.

During Monday night's board meeting Navasota ISD Business Manager Scott Singletary explained that student growth is the strongest revenue generator.

A press release issued Monday said school districts throughout Texas are looking at essentially three choices to combat the rising costs that are out of their control: (1) Adopt a deficit budget and deplete the districts fund balance; (2) Adopt a balanced budget and make both programmatic and personnel cuts; or (3) hold a referendum to increase the local tax rate.

Navasota ISD is striving to not adopt a deficit budget for the 2008-2009 school year. Although many other school districts are implementing this strategy, Navasota ISD believes that at this point this course of action may not be the most fiscally appropriate. They have however, made a commitment to adopt a balanced budget.

In the meeting board officials said they do not plan to cut teacher positions or other contract positions at the time, however, they do anticipate to cut support staff positions.
Superintendent Jennings Teel said they are currently examining all support staff positions in order to make as few cuts as possible.

“Navasota ISD is about doing what’s best for students,” said Teel in a press release Monday. “Our goal is to provide each child with a superior education so they can be successful.”

Despite financial constraints, the budget being proposed by Navasota ISD includes a 3 percent raise for all staff. Teel believes giving raises to the staff and educating the children of the district is the number one priority of his administration; but taking care of the teachers and staff under his employ is a close second.