COPPERAS COVE — Not only are Texas and Oklahoma neighbors, but they are also becoming partners in the fight against and preparation for sequestration and the series of budget cuts that result.
Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Joe Burns and Board of Trustees Chairman Joan Manning traveled to Tulsa, Okla., over the weekend to attend the OASIS Conference, which serves federally impacted students — whether it be through low-income housing, the military or even a government contractor.
The purpose of the conference was to discuss the potential effects of the upcoming round of sequestration scheduled to begin in January.
“It was a short trip, just one overnight,” Manning said. “But it was worthwhile.”
Approximately 1,200 school districts receive federal Impact Aid because of a nearby military base such as Fort Hood, or Native American reservations, which can be found throughout Oklahoma. These are the districts that will usually lose tax revenue due to sequestration. Burns said Oklahoma and Copperas Cove share a lot of the same concerns.
“We are really feeling the pinch on sequestration,” Burns said. “It was good to sit down and share ideas and hear things that (Oklahoma is) doing to ensure students receive a quality education.”
Many school districts affected by Impact Aid and sequestration already made cuts such as delaying purchasing textbooks and upgrading technology.
In October, Cove ISD discussed the possibility of eliminating its pre-K program due to budget cuts. But there is currently no formalized plan to cut the program.
In other business, board members were told that student suspensions are down by nearly two-thirds for the current school year. Officials said there are usually 100 student suspensions within the first half of the year but that installing video cameras on school buses has curbed some of the disciplinary problems previously encountered.
More students also are eating in the school cafeteria, thanks to changes in the menu and allowing the same meals to be served in the cash line as the free or reduced cost lunch line.