The Commerce Journal

June 5, 2013

Loss in enrollment reflected in Commerce ISD revenue outlook

Director of finance says outlook is not all 'doom and gloom'

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Although the Commerce Independent School District lost 46 students during the 2012-13 school year, CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper vowed the district’s budget would continue to be balanced.

The CISD School Board of Trustees held a special budget study session on Tuesday to deliberate over the various budget decisions to be voted on during the June 17 board meeting.

Commerce gets $5,000 from the state for every student enrolled in the district, so with 46 less students enrolled, the district lost $230,000 in revenue.

“Our shortfall in students has produced a shortfall in revenue,” John Walker, director of finance for CISD said, adding that the district has $269,000 less than last year in its revenue estimates.

Walker said it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Since Judge Dietz decided in a court case that the Texas Legislation was unconstitutional in cutting $5.4 billion from school funding.

The legislature voted recently to put back in $4 billion in funding.

“According to Senate Bill 1, it will raise our 2013-14 revenue by $500,000,” he said.

The House may pass House Bill 5, which would potentially be a retroactive bill, putting $150,000 into the 2012-13 school year. The bill would also reduce the amount of end of semester exams students are required to take.

If passed, the bill could give the school district an upswing from the $269,000 less in revenue to a positive $381,000 in revenue for the district.

Cooper said he feels optimistic about the chances of the bills staying.

“I hope that the government doesn’t veto Senate Bill 1,” he said.

Last year Texas tested its school children in 17 standardized tests, which is more than any other state.

Cooper said he believes that is a reason for why students have left public schools.

“We started school with 20 students less than last year,” he said. “I think it’s all the testing, and the students went homeschool.”

According to Cooper, with the state removing a portion of the standardized tests, it will give he and the district more control of how they teach children at CISD.

“I’m really looking forward to doing soomething outside the box,” he said.