Advocate editorial board opinion: Victoria school district minimizes hard impact of cuts

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 26, 2011 at 2:26 a.m.

We were happy to hear that the Victoria school district would not have to make draconian cuts the likes of what many other school districts across the state have had to do because of education cuts in the state budget. In fact, many schools within districts ended up closing because of the cuts.

We praise the district for its efficient and effective management.

So how did the district accomplish surfacing in such an economic storm of state funding cuts?

"Victoria ISD is in a sound financial position because we budget conservatively, live within our means and always remember that this is not 'our' money. The funds we operate with come from the taxpayers, and we have an obligation to use those hard-earned dollars wisely," said Frances Koch, executive director of budget and finance.

Koch also noted that the Victoria school district does not receive as much state funding as other school districts although she noted she "wouldn't say the cuts that have been made were painless."

Although cuts are painful, the school district has focused on a budget that limits their impact on day-to-day classroom instruction.

"Over the last year, we have let more than 30 positions go unfilled, and those positions are being eliminated through attrition in the proposed budget," Koch said.

Koch said since Superintendent Bob Moore took the head administrative position six years ago, reviews of job openings and staff ratios have been consistent; these reviews have led to "a leaner organization, and it also put us in a better position to weather the funding cuts."

Also, the district has had balanced budgets over the past years, and the fund balance grew so much, it allowed the bond issue and the opening of new schools while providing increases to teachers' salaries.

"All of this has been accomplished without a tax-rate increase in operations for what will be five years. The tax rate we will ask the board to set next month will be lower than the rate adopted in 2006," Koch said.

Again, we applaud the Victoria school district administration for its efficient budget and planning. We are proud of our school district and wish it continued success.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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