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LISD eyes new moneymaking possibilities

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

Uncertainty remains the common thread as Federal, State and local entities continue to struggle to get a handle on school financing for the coming budget year.

While the Lockhart Independent School District’s position is not as dire as that of several neighboring districts, the Trustees continue to feel the weight

of the State and Federal government’s budget woes. In a special called meeting on Monday evening, one of the hot topics of discussion was ways to increase local revenue, offsetting what many fear will be deep cuts in state funding in the coming biennium.

Traditionally, the trustees have voiced their support for helping the District earn more money, rather than cutting costs – particularly in the workforce. To that end, administrators made suggestions on Monday night that include means of not only generating more revenue, but of enhancing the image of the district.

One of those suggestions was to trademark and license a “Lockhart Lion” logo, upon which royalties could be collected for the district. That action alone according to information provided by LISD CFO Tina Knudsen, could generate upwards of $85,000 in additional revenue.

Further, the presentation suggested, the District could consider selling advertising space on buses, increasing rental income by changing and centralizing the procedures  for renting district properties for special events, and increasing prices and adding a registration fee for the Cub House.

Estimates provided by Senate Funding Models introduced on March 17 reflect the possibility of a reduction in funding of up to $1.7 million in 2012, and up to $1.3 million in 2013. Additionally, the District stands to lose funding for technology, Life Skills for Teen Parent programs, Student Success Initiatives and advanced placement funding. However, until the State Legislature determines their budgetary path, it is difficult for school districts to determine what their best course of action should be.

Some of that uncertainty spilled over on teachers and the community earlier this month, as the Trustees initially declined to take action on a number of probationary contracts.

Although the discussion about the contracts took place behind closed doors, rumors soon circulated that the Trustees had declined to take action on those contracts as the result of an earlier budget presentation that suggested cutting the contracts as a cost-saving measure.

That option, however, was apparently distasteful to the Trustees, who unanimously voted to renew the probationary contracts on Monday night.

Still, developments at the State and Federal level keep school budgeting in flux.

Friday’s passage by Congress of a bill which prevented a government shutdown also eliminated the controversial “Doggett Amendment,” a provision in an earlier bill that denied nearly $830 million in Federal funding to the State of Texas unless state leadership committed to spending that money only on schools, and not using the funds for other budgetary spending.

It was still unclear at press time on Wednesday how the repeal of the Doggett Amendment would impact education funding in Texas, or whether those changes would trickle down to the school districts.

The LISD Board of Trustees will have their next Budget Workshop during their regular meeting scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 25.

The LISD Board of Trustees routinely meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center, #1 Lion Country Dr. (906 Center St.) in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public, and interested parties are encouraged to attend and participate.

Follow and discuss this changing story online at www.post-register.com.

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