The new school year will bring some changes for the students, parents and staff members for Robstown Independent School District. The reasons for the upcoming changes are due to the current trends in student enrollments and the state of the economy.
The schools in Texas receive funds from numerous sources; state funds, federal funds, local tax dollars and other revenues such as athletic-gate receipts. The majority of the funds come from state dollars, followed by federal dollars and last local tax dollars.
These are the sources of revenue for RISD, in that order. There is variation depending on the property wealth of the school districts. Robstown ISD ranks approximately 22nd from the top as one of the poorest property school districts in Texas. There are approximately 1,040 school districts in the state.
In Texas, money to operate the schools is generated by student enrollments and student average daily attendance. Robstown ISD is experiencing good student attendance, but a decline of student enrollments just like many other districts in the state.
The districts in Texas not affected by decline in enrollments are school districts in The Valley, and districts in the Interstate 35 and 45 corridors between San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston. The rest are making adjustments to maintain fiscal soundness of the district.
Although Robstown presently maintains a healthy fund balance of approximately $8 million, we must make adjustments to maintain the level of services for our students in the future.
Next year, the school district will start consolidating services for students. We plan to send the 2008-09 second graders from Salazar to Hattie Martin Elementary and close the present Alternative Learning Campus and provide the services for students at the Robstown High School.
We will not eliminate services for students, but consolidate services. We anticipate that this will save the district $500,000 in salaries alone.
Of course, this type of decision causes concern, but the district administration and the school board after reviewing the information presented by the administration at the meeting held May 13, agreed to support the changes.
The reasons presented were academic, financial and safety reasons for the students at Salazar. The reasons to close the ALC were also academic and financial, but also to provide better academic services for the students currently attending the ALC.
We want our students to enroll in vocational courses available at the high school and currently not available at the ALC. Additionally, our plans include adding vocational courses by sending RISD students to classes at the new Craft Training Center in Annaville. The district plans to provide transportation, payment of tuition and books needed by our students.
Change is difficult. I realize that, but many of us are presently facing adjustments in our household expenses due to the increase in energy and fuel. School districts and other businesses are not any different. We must make adjustments as well. Please call me if you have any questions.
Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, ext. 2223.