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Washington Times
KFDM 6 :: News - BISD Coverage

BISD says it's trying to bring more financial accountability

BEAUMONT - by Leslie Rangel

BISD board members have a bit more clarity on what next year's budget will look like although no one will know until the Reduction in Force plan takes affect and layoffs are voted on.

It wasn't exactly a packed house, but students, parents teachers and community members were there to see what the budget workshop would reveal.

"It's good to see that students are involved in the process and they have a real passion and interest in their school district," TEA conservator, Fred Shafer. 

It's a district that has a $15 million deficit that some board members attribute to financial mismanagement.

"The consultant was saying we passed the budget amendment before the checks are cut we've already taken the product, we're taking whatever it is that we're receiving and so we basically spent the money," BISD trustee Mike Neil says. 

Money that Neil says needs to be handled more carefully and under more watchful eyes. He pointed to the BISD police department as an example of how management needs to better oversee spending.

"If they budgeted $1.9 million and spent $3.8 million, have we gone back and looked to see if the 3.8 million dollars was effectively spent and if it is effectively spent that's ok, let's budget off of that," Neil says. 

According to district financial consultants, BISD spends money even before the board approves it.

"I'm just trying to make sure that every department we've gone through to see how much fat is in the department. If they're running lean then let's budget what we spend. If we're not running lean, then let's cut out the fat before we go to the teachers and start taking them out," Neil said. 

A lock down on money the consultant and the TEA conservator agree on.

"What it shows is the district needs to get more tighter controls in the budget," Shafer says.

"We're trying to improve the process to the point where we have much better and much more realistic information," Chuck Yaple, the district's financial consultant said. 

Some students admit they're not sure about specifics, but one thing is clear, they're here to learn with open eyes and open ears.

Again, the superintendent reminded the board and public they will not have a more accurate picture of next year's budget until specific areas to cut are identified.

The board is expected to vote on those cuts at next Thursday's board meeting. BISD says it's trying to bring more financial accountability

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