After a tax rate increase was handily defeated on Tuesday Hutto ISD’s superintenedent is left asking questions. Hutto, Dripping Springs districts left in lurch by property tax votes.
“I don’t think I can figure out what went wrong,” Hutto Superintendent Doug Killian said. “At this point, I have to figure out how to make it work for our district. I don’t just want to be able to run efficiently — I want it to be successful. I can make these cuts, but will it run well when I do?”
The Hutto school district adopted a $37 million budget for the 2011-12 school year after cutting $4.5 million. Veterans Hill Elementary School was shuttered. Fifth grade was moved to middle school to make room at the remaining elementary campuses and 70 employees were let go, including a quarter of central office administrators.
Every option is back on the table because the district will need to find $2.1 million more in reductions, Killian said.
“We’re going to have to take a little more from all areas to make it work,” Killian said. “I do see this will impact our classrooms.”
There’s no fat left, they’re going to have to start cutting into muscle. And that even means fewer teachers, and even larger class sizes, as the student population continues to grow. Hutto is a community with more than 9,000 registered voters, and less than 750 voters turned out, and voted (575 – 43%) against raising property taxes by 6 cents/$100 of property valuation to fund public education.
Here’s what’s back on the table:
Where does the district plan to cut if additional cuts are required?
If the November 2011 TRE does not pass, HISD will need to further trim it’s operating budget by $1.2 million for the 12-13 school year. This would translate to $5.7 million in budget cuts over a two-year period. While the district has not yet decided specific actions on where to cut, additional cuts could include: Increase the average class sizes district-wide for grades K-12; increase the Co-Curricular, extracurricular student participation fees; No band travel to away football games; reduce number of custodians district-wide; reduce summer school services; initiate a hiring freeze; reduction of additional staff through attrition; additional 2-5% reduction in department/campus budgets; and to begin charging to bus students.