Local School District Plans Layoffs In Face Of Funding Loss

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COPPERAS COVE (February 3, 2014) The Copperas Cove Independent School District announced Monday it will lay off 75 employees, restructure its Pre-K program and shift students from one elementary school to another in the 2014-2015 school year in response to the expected loss of millions of dollars in federal funding.

In a news release Monday CCISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Burns said the district no longer qualifies for Heavy Impact Aid from the federal government and the loss of that aid ultimately translates to the loss of $12 million.

The federal program provides supplemental funding to districts impacted by the proximity of major federal installations such as Fort Hood.

In response to the loss, Cove’s school board has voted to cut 40 full-time professional staff positions and 35 paraprofessional positions; restructure the district’s Pre-K program to a half-day program that would be located at Mae Stevens Elementary, and to rezone Mae Stevens Elementary so students in grades K-5 will instead attend Clements/Parsons Elementary beginning in the fall of this year.

The federal government requires that 35 percent of a school district’s students meet certain criteria before the Heavy Impact Aid is granted.

Burns said calculations completed by the district as part of an annual impact aid survey show that the percentage of those students falls short of the 35 percent requirement, which means the aid will be withdrawn.

Burns said in the current budget the Heavy Impact Aid accounts for 16 percent of the district’s annual budget.

Burns said if spending continues at current levels and no adjustments are made to account for the loss of revenue, "expenditures would exceed revenue by $5.9 million in 2014-2015, and the district would deplete its fund balance by the 2017-2018 school year."

The loss of heavy impact aid is a multi-year process but would mean the loss of $6.3 million in the 2014-2015 school year.

"The financial landscape at CCISD has to adjust to reflect this significant loss of revenue," Burns said.

"This is where our job becomes very challenging," Burns said at a recent public hearing.

"However, we are still going to be better than the average bear.

"We're still going to do an excellent job educating kids, because that's the Cove way.

"It's not going to change the quality of our programs.

"We have an excellent staff dedicated to the success of all students."