|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
State funding cuts not as deep as expected
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Although state funding to local schools will be cut next year, the hit may not be has hard as was expected, school board members learned Monday night. During their May meeting, the board received an update from Superintendent Dave Plymale on the state budget now under consideration in Austin. He indicated the plan under consideration on Monday would cut the Trinity Independent School District’s funds by about $680,000 in the 2011-2012 school year and by about $768,000 in 2012-2013. Next years cuts would be in the form of a 5.4 percent or $455,350 cut in state funding coupled with the loss of $225,000 in federal money that was intended to help fund teacher pay increases. Plymale explained that the state legislature was supplanting the federal EduJobs funds and using it to support the overall education budget. Because the EduJobs funds were not planned for the 2012-2013 school year, the entire $768,000 local cut was coming out of state funds. At one point the district was expecting cuts could exceed the $1 million mark. Plymale told the board that because Gov. Rick Perry was pressuring the legislature to finalize the state budget during the regular session, the legislature was rushing to complete the work. Because of this, the superintendent predicted the current estimates probably would be finalized. “It looks like there will not be able to come up with any additional funding for education,” he said. The superintendent noted that through cuts in programs and staff, the board had already managed to reduce next year’s budget by about $800,000. “That means we are in pretty good shape right now and would not have to make any more major changes,” he said. Strategic Plan approved During the meeting, the board also approved a five-year Strategic Plan drafted by members of the community and the school’s staff. The plan outlines the overall objectives of the school district and sets forth the parameters and strategies designed to meet those objectives. Among the key goals of the plan is to obtain more parental and community involvement in the education process and to stimulate students to become critical thinkers and life-long learners. During the meeting, Plymale presented the plan’s overview and members of the planning committee presented information on the strategies to be used in its implementation. Speakers included the Rev. Dr. Jason Burden, THS Principal Craig Ruby, Barry Coleman, Bertie Burke and Ryan Causey. Other business The board also: • Voted to keep the same board officers for another year. The board traditionally realigns after each election and by unanimous consent, decided to keep Judy Bishop as board president, Gary Gallant as vice president and Bill Weaver as secretary. • Accepted a bid from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for worker’s compensation insurance for the coming year. • Accepted a bid from First National Bank of Trinity to remain as the school’s depository. • Approved the Grand Central Station program for all school campuses. Under the program, a learning lab will be established at all four campuses to help students who are struggling with various courses. THS Principal Craig Ruby said when he served as principal in Diboll, the program was used and successfully helped a number of problem students turn their academic careers around. • Offered contracts to three new Trinity Intermediate School teachers: Meagan Kierst, who will teach science; Olivia Jones, who will teach math; and Alexis Taylor, who will teach special education. • Offered a new contract to Terry Adams, who has served as the life skills teachers at the high school. She will now serve as the school district’s education diagnostician.