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School board focuses on budget, savings

 

The La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) school board is focusing on ways to help the district save money during the budget crisis now facing many Texas school districts.

During the March 22 regular meeting, members Eric Friedrichs, Richard Schier, Mike Jendrusch, John Bilicek, James Barnett, David Watson, and Janice Gimbel discussed plans for cutting costs in the upcoming school year.

According to Superintendent Tom Harvey, a budget process was designed to include individual input with peer review. The teachers and, in some cases, paraprofessionals and department staff, provide input into the process. Teachers make a list of supplies they’ll need for the following year while prioritizing what’s most important and keeping the budget in mind.

“The teachers are very student-oriented and frugal,” Harvey said. “They know how tough this is going to be.”

The district currently has a hiring freeze, and Harvey feels that classes and teaching positions can be reorganized without any new hiring. Harvey told the board that he has visited with the teachers from every campus and talked with them about their jobs.

“We will make cuts at the last possible minute,” he said.

Allen Bordelon, director of technology, said the district will also save money with the implementation of the new thin-client computers using “cloud” technology in the schools.

According to Bordelon, the thin-client computers do not have to be replaced.

“We’ve been preparing for this for a while,” Bordelon said. “We’ve minimized our spending enough, unlike districts with traditional computers.”

Following the money-saving trend, the three board members up for re-election currently are unopposed, allowing the district savings on election costs.

Also during the meeting, a generous donation of $5,000 was offered to the district by the La Vernia Mighty Bear Band Boosters.

“We just think our band beats everybody,” Jendrusch said.

The board approved to accept the donation “with a lot of gratitude.”

 
 
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