Valley School District Facing Multi-Million Dollar Deficit
RIO GRANDE CITY – A Rio Grande Valley school district is making due this year with millions of dollars less in their budget.
Rio Grande City CISD is facing a $10 million deficit, which means less money to work with.
The RGC CISD Chief Financial Officer, Diana Robles-Mendez, says they've narrowed it down.
"We have four main expenditures that we think are the main cause of the deficit. We start to the first one which goes back to the year 2014-2015," she explains.
That's when salaries were raised. Since then, a cost of $7.9 million carries into every budget.
This year, $1.9 million was approved for staff raises, too – that adds up to $9.8-million alone.
They also added an annual payment of $260,000 for the next 10 years for new turfs they installed at three football fields in August, which comes to $10,060,000.
An energy savings program which included replacing old A/Cs and including LED lighting added a $466,000 payment for the next 15 years.
The savings projected at about $500,000 annually is expected to offset the cost.
Their fund balance, also known as the rainy day fund, is expected to absorb the majority of the impact.
They plan to take about $9.9 million of the deficit from the fund balance.
Last year, the district had a fund balance of about $26 million. This year, Robles-Mendez said they're expecting a "substantial increase".
Some of that is expected in the form of two construction litigation settlements which are projected in the millions.
Cuts are expected for para-professionals.
"We'll probably be working on their schedules, be more careful where we schedule these employees. Maybe if they have to be working at the football game, they may be scheduled to come in at a later time so we don't incur that overtime expense,” says Robles-Mendez.
They are not planning layoffs.
"We are not cutting on teachers," says Robles-Mendez.
She says they are not planning cuts to funding that affects education time like tutorial programs or quality of education.
Another loss for the district came in the form of a drop in enrollment.
About 200 students went to a neighboring charter school, which took about $2 million in funding through the average daily attendance rate.
The district is inviting parents to their first ever State of the District meeting.
They will be discussing the budget in further detail.
It will be held Wednesday, October 10 at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Fort Ringgold.