Overestimating attendance will cost BISD $1.5 million

A Beaumont Independent School District trustee said that the likelihood of having to eliminate positions is getting stronger as the district finances get weaker.

Mike Neil made the comment after learning that the district owes the state $1.5 million.

Bill Lenhart is the consultant hired by BISD to help the district fix its finances, but Monday night he was the bearer of bad news.

Lenhart told board members that the average daily attendance for this past year had been overestimated.  The better the attendance, the more funding the district gets from the Texas Education Agency.

The overestimation means the state overpaid the district, and now the district owes the state a refund.

Lenhart says that's not uncommon since districts must estimate for two year periods.  However Neil says what is unusual is the amount.

Neil said, "What I've been told by another superintendent is that it's usually pretty close and for it to be $1.5 million, there's got to be something there."

The TEA is already investigation allegations of attendance fraud at BISD, and Neil worries this might be related.

He is also concerned that this adds to BISD's financial woes and uncertainty as budget time approaches.

Neil told us, "We have to have a balanced budget and we have to cut positions to have a balanced budget."

The district has already cut overtime and has not replaced vacant positions.

The first budget workshop will be May 29.


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