Byers board discusses misconception over state funding

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

Byers ISD Superintendent Kim Childs discussed a possible public misconception in the district’s budget when the school board met Thursday night.

Childs told board members that a concerned citizen who questioned what appears to be a school district debt of $703,000 in the budget had approached him. The superintendent said that the tally reflects an overpayment in funding from the state, which Byers ISD is expected to refund. Because the district was aware of the overpayment, the negative figure will not affect the district’s budget in any way.

“It’s going to be a very tight year, and we have adopted a budget that we believe will carry us through the year,” said Childs.

Byers School started its final year as an independent school district with an operating budget of $1.2 million. Its goal is to finish out the year with a zero balance. Byers ISD is on course to do so.

A foam roof system installed several years ago leaked in the last two rains. After the first leak was detected, work was done on the roof, only to have it leak again. In his superintendent’s report, Childs said one of the school’s air conditioning units appeared to be the problem. When the foam roof was installed, the material used built up around the unit, which traps rainwater.

Childs presented the board with two options. The district could replace the unit with a taller model, which, with installation and repairs to the roof, would cost about $20,000. The second option is to remove the unit all together, patching the hole in the roof and repairing the roof. Childs supported the first option, not wanting to remove air conditioning from several classrooms and the cafeteria. He said the school would look into an Oncor grant, which would cover half of the cost of a more efficient model.

Childs said in his report that the district has received bids for property insurance through the Texas Association of School Boards, and there will be no changes. The TASB was notified that this will be the last year for Byers ISD and the district can expect to recover some of its insurance premiums at the end of the year.

He also discussed school board training, and repairs to the schools agriscience facilities.

After a public meeting, the board approved Byers’ financial accountability rating from the TEA, an annual study to ensure the practices and performance of the school’s accounting practices. Byers received the rating of Above Standard Achievement, and was only one point off of the top rating, Superior, due to a low student population. The rating is based on figures from the 2009-10 school year.

An individual whose wife teaches at Byers ISD has offered to teach Karate lessons as an after school program. Childs suggested that the board take no action until the offer could be further discussed with the instructor, and his references checked out. Instead, the board voted to give Childs the authority to make any decisions for the program.

The board also discussed changes to the school’s senior trip policy, and school officials will discuss changes with the students. The board decided to revisit the item if any amendments are requested.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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