Some Sports Also Cut As Ft. Davis ISD Reigns In Deficit 2/12/14
CBS 7 News
February 12, 2014
FORT DAVIS-One West Texas school district struggles to cope with a $703,000 deficit that's been years in the making.
Yesterday, the Ft. Davis Board of Trustees voted to cut the band and some arts programs. But these are not the first programs to be cut—the board also voted to stop some sports activities earlier this year.
Starting next year, Ft. Davis students will only play one sport per season. Tennis, cross country and golf are among sports completely cut out to get the budget on track.
"Everything has been on the table, for elementary through secondary education, with more to come,” said Superintendent Dr. Judi Whitis. “The board has given this a lot of thought and a lot of consideration. It’s a very tough, very emotional time for our school.”
The board says these programs may not be the last to be cut with the system thousands in the red.
"Why hasn't the school been able to pay down this deficit?"
"It's been ongoing for the last 5 to 8 years, part of the things that have contributed include a decline in enrollment, decline in revenue, increasing costs for educating students,” Whitis said. “We also closed a campus this past year, all of these things are pieces of the puzzle.”
The cuts come after a failed tax election last year, which lost by just two votes. The tax election would have brought more than $120,000 in revenue to the district this year alone. Residents we spoke with say they understand the dilemma.
"The Art and music were the polish—the added benefits. We still need them, but we need the basics first," said Ft. Davis Resident Patty Moreland.
Booster clubs could still emerge to save some cut programs.
"Our community has come together to realize the importance of saving our school. We are starting a Ft. Davis Education Foundation, all of those areas could supplant funding,” Whitis said, noting that private donations to the school system are tax deductible.
The Texas Education Agency is not yet involved, but the superintendent says if the deficit continues, the state could take over the school system’s budget.
For now, students will still be able to play football, volleyball, basketball and track depending on the season.