Coahoma ISD wrangling with shortfall

COAHOMA — School officials here are trying to be creative in dealing with an anticipated budget shortfall.With Coahoma Independent School District expecting to lose more than $275,000 in state revenue support this coming fiscal year, administrators are looking for ways to save money while maintaining current programs and services.“We haven't received final word from the state as to exactly how much money we'll lose, but it appears as if it will be approximately $280,000,” CISD Superintendent Amy Jacobs said. “So, we're preparing our budget along those lines … We're looking for ways to reduce our costs without negatively affecting our programs and classroom instruction.”One area CISD is looking at is balancing class sizes. Jacobs said there is a noticeable disparity in class sizes between the elementary and secondary levels in the district. Part of that disparity is state-mandated — the Texas Education Agency requires there be no more than 22 students per teacher in grades kindergarten through 4 — but officials hope that making class sizes more uniform can help the district save some revenue.“We're aligning schedule differences and utilizing our staff in different ways to try to bring this more in line,” Jacobs said.CISD also is asking some personnel to take on additional responsibilities. An example of that is newly hired Andy Reddock, who will serve as both the district's assistant superintendent and as principal at the elementary campus.Another example of non-traditional job duties personnel will undertake this year is in the case of Thurman Brown, who was hired as both a coach at the junior high and as a part-time elementary principal.Coahoma school trustees will continue to refine the new budget at an Aug. 14 workshop. Formal adoption of both the budget and proposed tax rate of $1.27 per $100 valuation is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21, Jacobs said.