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TMISD operating on “bare bones budget”

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 20:34:47-04

TULOSO-MIDWAY – All public school districts rely on revenue raised from property taxes, but in the past year, one of Tuloso-Midway’s industrial property owners declared bankruptcy, and another is appealing its tax rate. Those hits have caused the school district financial pain.

“Right now, the state of Texas thinks we’re richer than we are,” Interim Superintendent Rodney Sumner said.

Monday, the Tuloso-Midway ISD Board of Trustees approved the 2018-2019 budget and tax rate which goes into effect September 1st, 2018. Sumner described the new finances as a “bare bones budget.”

“We may have to tighten our belt, and sometimes when you have to tighten your belt when you’ve been able to do things in the past, it may become a little uncomfortable,” Sumner said.

This all stems from what district officials say were unforeseen circumstances.

Sumner said after the M&G Chemicals plastic plant filed for bankruptcy, that company owes the district between five and six million dollars. Additionally, Flint Hills is disputing its property values with Nueces County, and Sumner said they owe the district more than one million dollars.

“So when you look at a school district that has a $7 million fund balance, and you’re short six million from bankruptcy, and over a million from a tax appeal, the district is cutting it very tight,” Sumner said.

With an approximate two percent budget decrease from last school year, TMISD is cutting midterm and end-of-year incentive bonuses for teachers. While TMISD officials said they are not terminating employees this school year, the future is uncertain.

“We don’t know what the future is going to hold. Sometimes these types of actions can take years to settle, and if that’s the situation, the district limps along,” Sumner said.

TMISD officials said they are looking to cut back in areas that would not affect personnel. For instance, the district did not purchase new school buses this year as originally planned.

KRIS 6 News called Nueces County’s Chief Appraiser for more information on pending negotiations with Flint Hills but did not hear back.

Read the official statement from Interim Superintendent Rodney Sumner sent to district employees here.