By Holly Wise
The Cove Herald
Community spirit was celebrated in the Copperas Cove Civic Center during the 2011 Communitywide Luncheon hosted by the Copperas Cove Independent School District, an ongoing tradition designed to inform community members on the state of the district.
"One of the goals of the school board was to develop meaningful partnerships with our community and so we were looking for ways to get all of our community in a room," CCISD Superintendent Rose Cameron told the large audience gathered to hear what has now become her annual State of the District address.
Cameron presented positive news from across the district, including the recently revamped mission statement, vision and goals of the district, progress on the TAKS scores, and increased enrollment.
"We're still growing, even this year, and we're maintaining those students," she said. "That's a good thing for our community and that's a good thing for our school district."
Cameron gave a quick overview of school finance and reminded those present that 23 percent of the district's revenue is from local taxpayers, while 51 percent comes from the state, and 26 percent from federal funding, including impact aid.
Cameron spoke briefly about the projected $5 million shortfall the district could be facing from the state, but reiterated the district is waiting for the state's final answer on the budget before making any decisions on how to make up the deficit.
House Creek Elementary School, the district's seventh elementary school still under construction, was paid for in cash, Cameron said.
"CCISD was able to pay cash for this building," she said, raising applause from the audience. The price tag for the new school is in excess of $15 million, not including furnishings or personnel, she added.
Cameron explained that the district has been governed by a vision that "you can't spend every dime you get," which has resulted in the ability to build a new school without asking to raise taxes.
"It's going to be a great addition to CCISD," she said.
Cameron said she's been "under fire" for not having a lot to say about the financial difficulties that could be facing the district.
"Right now, we don't know what to say because the state hasn't given us a clear answer," she said. "I will tell you this, whatever they throw at us, we're going to field and we're going to make it work in our district."
Karen Harrison, president of the Copperas Cove Education Foundation, thanked community members for their support in donations to the foundation.
"Each fall we award teaching grants to teachers with innovative ideas for their classroom and in 2010 we awarded grants totaling $42,000," she said.
In light of the recent budget conversations, Harrison encouraged the community to get involved with supporting education.
"Today I would like to invite all of you to become supporters of the Copperas Cove Education Foundation," she said. "Each day we hear more and more about looming budget cuts for our public schools and all of us realize the negative impact these budget cuts will have on the education of children in our community."
The foundation grants can be used to help offset the impact of budget cuts, she added.
"We all feel helpless in a time of state and national budget deficits but there is a way that you can help the students of Copperas Cove Independent School District now," she said. "If you contribute to the education foundation, you can help fund more teaching grants, which will directly enhance the educational experience of our kids."
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474.