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Additional athletics funding sought

DALLAS -- The Dallas School District Budget Committee approved the proposed 2010-11 budget of more than $44 million on Monday, May 24, with no significant changes.



DALLAS -- The Dallas School District Budget Committee approved the proposed 2010-11 budget of more than $44 million on Monday, May 24, with no significant changes.

However, the committee did recommend the school board consider funding a number of provisions not included in the approved budget before the board votes on final adoption in June.

The decision was made before a room full of onlookers who attended the meeting to ask the committee to find more funding for athletics. Supporters said having well-funded sports programs keeps students interested in school and Dallas competitive in its league.

Superintendent Christy Perry said with the general fund contingency low, the most likely avenue for finding more money was to cut instructional days.

Each day cut saves the district $75,000.

In 2008-09, before cuts were made, the total athletic budget was almost $660,000. In the 2010-11 budget, the proposal is about $558,000, about $28,000 more than is projected to be spent in the current year.

Perry said the district does have room to cut days, but encouraged the committee to consider other areas of the budget before cutting days to provide more money for sports.

"My recommendation is you have to look at everything," Perry said. "If you are going to cut school days, then decide if athletics is your first priority."

She mentioned providing funding to add a partial position in music at the elementary level, retain a behavioral specialist at Oakdale Elementary, and add teachers at LaCreole Middle School to keep class sizes in check as other possibilities.

Committee member and Board Chairman Michael Blanchard noted that cutting days now may not be the most fiscally responsible decision for a budget with a small contingency and in a time of shrinking resources.

"At this point, if something bad happened, the only option is to cut days," he said.

District staff will investigate how other schools in Dallas' league are funding athletics to present to the school board.

Committee members also voted 7-2 to authorize the Dallas School Board to transfer funds from the facility repair and maintenance fund if property tax collections during the 2010-11 fiscal year were not sufficient to cover an interest-only payment on the bond passed by voters in 2009.



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