Board OKs budget

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved $349,223,000 in expenditures for the 2024-25 school year.

That’s a deficit of $12 million. Without cuts, the deficit would be $24 million.

For 2023-24, expenditures came to $345,648,500 and the revenue and other sources was $334,253,451. The net expected decrease to the fund balance was $13,920,049, but the actual anticipated decrease is about $2.5 million now, Chief Financial Officer Deborah Ottmers said.

There were 106 days of fund balance in ’23-24 and there are 91 days in 2024-25 with the current budget.

“We feel very comfortable about this budget and we’ll continue working on saving wherever we can,” Ottmers told trustees.

The board also is required to approve the School Nutrition and debt service budgets. The School Nutrition budget is balanced at $20,277,315 and debt service is $46,249,195.

The tax rate will be considered in September. It is proposed to be $1.014, which is the same as last year.

The board also heard bond updates and approved having the architecture firm Parkhill design a new cafeteria at Austin Elementary School as the structure was possibly destabilized by seismic activity, District Operations Executive Director Sam Magallan said.

The estimated cost at this point is $1.7 million and is covered by insurance.

The board approved Robert Trejo as executive director of accountability and school improvement and Veronica Reyes as an executive director of leadership.

The projected attendance rate is 88 percent for next year and it was at 92 percent for this year.

Superintendent Scott Muri said Chief of Schools Keeley Boyer and her team are addressing an attendance improvement plan.

COVID affected attendance and it’s a nationwide problem, Muri said.

Muri said the board will see the attendance improvement plan in August.

The board approved trustee Dawn Miller as a delegate to the Texas Association of School Boards and Robert Thayer as an alternate.

The Student Code of Conduct and revisions to the Student Handbook were approved. Boyer said there were no changes to the code of conduct for next year and very few changes to the fees.

The board also approved using part of Travis Elementary School for child care.