School Business Affairs March 2019

28 MARCH 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS Eating the Elephant: Steps Toward a Balanced Budget Looming maintenance costs motivated this district to take a hard look at its budget. By Jerry Gibson, Ed.D. I n August 2018, the school board of Marshall Inde- pendent School District voted to accept the 2018-19 budget with a $1,246,366 shortfall. Adopting a defi- cit budget was nothing new; the school board had adopted deficit budgets in 5 of the previous 10 years. However, in those years when the Texas school dis- trict cracked down on spending, the budget was realized without a deficit. In 2018, school district officials knew they were facing significant maintenance issues that would require them to dip into the district’s healthy fund balance. That new reality prompted them to develop a more conservative approach to spending and budget forecasts. Marshall ISD had consistently kept a strong fund bal- ance that exceeded the recommendation of the Texas Edu- cation Agency. However, facing estimated maintenance Marshall Independent School District Superintendent Jerry Gibson maintains a focus on students—taking time to learn Spanish from a preschooler. SCHOOL FINANCE PHOTO COURTESY OF MARSHALL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT