Budget cuts to impact class size, travel

Recently, statements and rumors about the Canyon ISD budget cuts have floated around the halls of Canyon High. Though several plausible theories have come about, it is time the students get an official rundown of just what is going to happen.

Principal Tim Gilliland said the State of Texas has not settled on a definite plan for changes in  funding for public schools, so not every shift of money in the Canyon ISD budget is final yet.

“Until the state determines how they’re going to finance public education, there’s still some big question marks about how much money we’ll have next year,” Gilliland said. “Our first move was to decrease budgets by 15 percent, and we hope that’s the last cut any of those budgets face. Most initial cuts came from employee travel and budgets that involved staff.”

The district chose to focus on academics for the upcoming cuts and around preserving class instruction as much as possible, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Randy McDowell said.

“We will try to have minimal impact on instruction and academic achievement,” McDowell said. “Some campuses may not see staff changes, but other campuses will see significant changes in staff. We will see class sizes get larger by two to four students per class.”

The district’s travel budget will take a hit as well, but not just in student organization travel. Staff travel will decrease, and the district will organize teacher training with its own facilities to save on venue expenses. Bus travel will also see an impact as the district reorganizes to be more efficient with transportation.

“The only change is coordinating travel better,” McDowell said. “We will put more students on each bus, and we will cut the number of vehicles on out-of-town trips.”

 The athletic department will change scheduling for the next two years for non-district contests.

“We don’t foresee any changes for district games,” McDowell said. “Non-district games will go under evaluation, and teams may compete in fewer tournaments.”

For now, the State of Texas will determine how much money they will cut from the education fund and, in turn, how much money Canyon ISD loses from now until 2013.

“Currently, the legislative session doesn’t end until May 30,” McDowell said. “We estimate the cuts to be from $3.5 million to $6.5 million per year, and it’s a two-year cycle.”