By Ken Baugh
Superintendent of Schools
Culberson County-Allamoore Independent School District
This is the first of several articles to explain our school finance for 2022-2023. With the approval from an election this coming November, our community’s school can stabilize the effects of the increases of cost to run our district. This article starts the conversation about this year’s school finance. We understand finance is sometimes a little boring but it is very important to understand why we do the things we do. The future articles will have an explanation of what M&O and I&S taxes are and do in detail. This article starts the explanation of how you will still be paying less taxes this year even with adding 3 pennies to the M&O tax rate in the November election.
One question that arises is how we have kept up with rising prices. Just like you, the school has faced rising prices. The solution we all use, whether at home or school, is to find more money or cut something back. The school has done both. We wrote and received grants to help pay the increased costs of operations. This is helping the school, but grants only are a one-time fix and will run out in a year and a half. We also run the school with less staff to save money to keep up with rising costs. We have done both, keeping costs at bay. Passing the 3 Golden pennies for M&O will solve the problem permanently and help us not run the risk of cutbacks for the school.
Another benefit will be funding a School Resource Officer for this coming year. School safety is definitely on everyone’s mind these days. A school resource officer is a certified law officer referred to as an SRO. They work at the school during school hours to help secure a more safe school. The SRO’s focus is the school. The SRO helps all of us by working with our students, parents, staff, and administration. We are able to budget an officer now because of the 3 Golden pennies instead of hoping for a grant in the future and waiting until then to get an officer. We will be adding other student and staff physical safety improvements that will cost.
Another benefit is staffing stability. We all want staff that stays with us and gets to know our children and families. All schools are faced with a lack of teachers and one of the reasons is pay rates for the field of education. As teacher shortages have become a permanent issue for communities, CCAISD is affected just as well, especially with our remote location. We are addressing the shortage problem head on by using the 3 Golden pennies to raise salary base rates and also by building staff housing from the newly passed bond. CCAISD school finance contains all good news for our community for this year. Last year the average home paid $395.43 and this year the average home will pay $324.55. This does include adding the 3 pennies from the election in November.