In response to the inaccurate information stated in the "Letter to the Editor" section of the Record Star on Jan. 31, I would like to present the community with the facts concerning the 2006-2007 financial audit.
According to the abovementioned letter, the 2006-07 audit "shows that the district overspent about $2 million". This information is objectionable. Three major factors transpired to reflect this difference.
1. The first factor was associated with the cafeteria expenditures. Because of the new equipment needed at Seale Jr. High during the 2006-07 year, an additional $500,000 was expended compared to the prior year.
2. The second major factor was tied to the plant maintenance and operations expenditures, which showed an increase of expenditures of $544,000 due primarily to an increase in property insurance.
3. The third and final major factor was linked with the capital projects expenditures. Compared to $883,575 in 2005-06, capital outlay expenditures (special building projects) increased in 2006-07 to $1.8 million. This difference consisted largely of the new athletic fieldhouse, which consumed $1.17 million alone. In addition to the fieldhouse, the vocational air conditioning project consumed $283,000. In response to such expenses, a reserve fund balance has been established for capital projects such as these since 2002-03.
It was also stated that, "the school district was expected to have a $1.5 million surplus." While it is true there was an estimated surplus of $1.5 million, this was prior to the shortcoming of state aid received and prior period adjustments. Due to decreasing enrollment, the district received $897,000 less in state aid. This was not reflected until late August. There was a prior period adjustment for $234,000 and a reduction in accrued school days for approximately $450,000.
The abovementioned letter also stated the audit report "disclosed 19 deficiencies in the operation of the business office." This statement is also imprecise. As quoted from the management letter issued by John Womack & Co., P.C., "we noted a significant deficiency involving internal control and its operations" (this was the result of the prior period adjustment from 2005-06) "during the course of our audit, we noted other findings that were not considered significant deficiencies yet should be of interest to management." The "other findings" dictated by the letter were noted by administration, and all have been addressed and/or corrected.
The letter in question stated, "According to the Texas Education Agency, the school district is not spending enough money for instruction." This is in reference to an indicator on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas. This is independent of our financial audit which states that 54 percent of school funding be used for direct instruction. The latest rating was based on the 2005-06 year, in which the district spent 53.48 percent as opposed to 54 percent. The percentage spent during the 2006-07 year will not be released on the FIRST ratings until next summer.
The most concerning and detrimental of the false statements from this letter is the statement that, "the RISD is considering laying off employees to compensate for the loss." The administration would like to convey to the public that this avenue has not been mentioned, nor has it been considered.
The letter printed on Jan. 31 was bursting with inaccuracies and embellished information. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this information or any other information, please do not hesitate to call the administration office at 767-6600.
Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, ext. 2223.