The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

August 17, 2013

WISD to hold public hearing on 2013-14 budget Monday

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — The Westwood Independent School District will hold a public hearing to discuss the district’s 2013-14 proposed budget at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the WISD administration office.

A special called board meeting will follow in which the school board will adopt the budget and tax rate and approve the 2012-13 final budget amendments.

Because the school district is completing several construction projects during the fall semester, the district will spend a portion of its designated fund balance and the 2013-14 expenses will be significantly more than the 2013-14 revenues.

In addition, WISD’s proposed budget will give a raise to teachers, make a Step 22 for teachers and offer a 3 percent raise to other designated school personnel.

Another reason for the proposed salaries increase is because of the rising cost of employee health insurance. Those on the Active Care 1 plan will see a 9 percent increase. The Active Care 2 plan is going up 15 percent and the Active Care 3 plan is going up 25 percent.

Other factors in the budget include the decreased amount of property taxes to be collected, going from $436,899,390 for the 2012-13 year to $427,304,430 for the 2013-14 school year.

While state funding is expected to be about $397,000 higher for the 2013-14 school year, the district is down 96 students, which also affects funding.

The district will use a portion of its designated fund balance to pay for its proposed $1,560,500 deficit budget.

During the July Board of Trustees meeting, WISD Superintendent Dr. Ed Lyman said the fund balance, which is currently setting around $10 million, was set aside for facility upgrades and the 1:1 Technology Initiative for students.

The WISD administration office is located at 4524 W. Oak St. in Palestine.