By Brenda Young
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS — The Lampasas school district board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to continue their financial support of a lawsuit against the state regarding school funding. The district joined the fight in 2012 along with 600 other districts around the state, Superintendent Randall Hoyer said.
“The district received a request from the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition for additional funding for unexpected costs in the lawsuit that was filed against the state of Texas,” he said. “In 2012, we contributed approximately $3,900 as our support toward the lawsuit that was filed on the grounds that the current funding system is inequitable and inadequate.”
A judge ruled in January that the state’s funding was inequitable and inadequate, as it created a self-imposed state property tax. Although some of the funding was restored by way of legislation, the judge required the issue go back to district court.
“This time around, they are asking for $2,102 to support the lawsuit,” Hoyer told trustees.
In other business, board members learned the school district received a superior financial rating in almost all categories. Chief Financial Officer Shane Jones told board members the state Legislature authorized the implementation of a financial accountability rating system for school districts in 2001 in an initiative called School First.
“The primary goal of School First is to improve the management of the school district’s financial resources and to make the board and public aware of certain indicators set by the commissioner of education,” Jones said.
Jones explained there are four levels on the rating scale, ranging from the highest to lowest — superior, above standard, standard and substandard achievement.
“The district, this year, achieved a superior rating,” Jones said. “We have for several years now. We received fives in all categories except for debt-related expenditures. We received two points on that one, and that’s due to the bond from the high school and Taylor Creek. But those are the only ones we lost any points on, and the rest of them are pretty good.”
Jones attributed the high rating to the district keeping a cap on student and administrative cost ratios that remain below the recommended numbers and low travel expenses for administrators.
“There are four different ratings, and we have the best rating, and that takes a lot of work and pinching pennies for that to happen,” said James Briggs, school board president.