COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove Independent School District’s annual communitywide luncheon Friday had its share of lighthearted moments, but the superintendent’s report on the loss of Impact Aid left educators in a somber mood.
“It’s time for us to complete this journey. (We) have to freeze expenditures and reduce expenses by 5 percent,” said Joe Burns, Cove ISD superintendent. “Folks had given (a lot to) make things happen and we will be better when we come out on the other end. Money doesn’t make community, it’s the people.”
Last year, Impact Aid — a federal government program that helps with educational funding — accounted for 16 percent of Cove ISD’s revenue. Next year, the district will lose $12 million in funding because it failed to meet a program requirement that 35 percent of the student population be military dependents. Cove ISD’s numbers fell to 34.09 percent this
year, said Rick Kirkpatrick, deputy superintendent.
Now the district is faced with teacher layoffs, prekindergarten restructuring and shifting students to other schools. Despite the obstacles, educators are up to the challenge, said Joan Manning, Cove ISD Board of Trustees president.
“We love our kids and we love Copperas Cove, and we will do our best even with limited funds,” she said. “We’re here for the right reason … and we’ll do our very best for our children.”
With talk of budget cuts and the $25 billion impact Fort Hood has on the area, educators and school districts, including Killeen ISD, need to make their voices heard, Burns said.
“We need to let (Washington know) how devastating a loss of funds will be to us,” he said. “We need to support our men and women in the military … and let them know we had the tools to support our military community.”
Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald