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West Oso Independent School District cutting back on costs amid $2M budget shortfall

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-27 19:58:35-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — West Oso Independent School District (ISD) officials said they are facing a $2 million dollar budget shortfall. In effort to accommodate the adjustment, the district says they're cutting back on spending such as teacher travel, school supplies and even secondary job opportunities.

It all started when the district did not meet enrollment expectations for the new school year. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took a part in the enrollment rate. However, the district says they also anticipated having a couple hundred more students based on the possibility of the construction of a new apartment complex nearby.

When the apartment complex was not built, it meant the expected number of students to join West Oso ISD was not met.

The district submitted their expected enrollment rate during the prior school year and was given funding from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Now, with enrollment numbers not reflecting that expectation, the district will have to pay that money back to the TEA.

The financial adjustment is not only impacting the district as a whole, it's also impacting the teachers that work at West Oso Elementary.

"I try to use different resources to help my kids," third grade math teacher Veronica Stevens said, "So in order for me to help them be academically successful, sometimes I may purchase things online that I felt that I need for my classroom that I may not be able to get with our budget."

But other teachers, like Kimberly Hamling, say the budget deficit is taking a bigger toll on the students.

“I think there’s so much more than we can do for these kids. The funding needs to increase," Hamling said. "We have students with special needs, diagnosticians, therapists - at least six of my students receive counseling. Anything that we do to increase how much we receive per student, goes back into the student."

As the school year continues, West Oso ISDt says their enrollment rate has not changed, but the attendance at their schools have significantly risen to 97%.

The district says they're hoping state legislators consider the best interest of students and switch the projection of funding to the daily attendance rate.

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