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Weatherford ISD

Board gets more info on budget

Approves grant funding for radios 


The Weatherford Independent School District got more clarity on the budget, and while the news could be better it certainly is less bleak than what some other districts are facing.  

At its regular monthly meeting May 13, trustees learned that due to the district’s lower average daily attendance rate and a slight drop in enrollment of about 50 students, the 2024-25 projected budget will need to use approximately $5.2 million in fund balance to keep up with expenditures.  

Lori Boswell, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, explained that estimated revenue is projected to be approximately $94 million – an increase of about $1.1 million from 2023-24 – and that expenses should be about $96.9 million.  

“It’s a little early for concrete numbers on the expense side but this is a pretty good estimate,” she said, adding that there really aren’t many changes expected between now and when the budget is voted on in August. “Payroll, as it always is, is the biggest expenditure but we’ve been strategizing as a team to not cut positions, but absorb them when we could.” 

Where possible, department budgets were reduced by about 10 percent, Boswell said, but it wasn’t an across-the-board cut. Technology, as an example, was not cut because too many items run on cycles that affect the district as a whole.  

The next steps in the budget process are for Boswell and her team to finalize proposed revenues and expenditures and have another board work session in June before adoption in August.   

Radio purchase

Also at the meeting, the board approved the purchase of 150 handheld and 60 bus two-way radios, along with the infrastructure to support it, from American Communications at a cost of $271,113.  

The money for the purchase will come from the SAFE Grant Cycle 2 that was awarded by the 88th Texas Legislative Session to help schools meet adopted safety standards. WISD’s grant allocation was around $279,000, of which $7,866 will be sent to repair and upgrade exterior doors and the remainder of the funds will be used for the radios.  

WISD is working with the City of Weatherford and the Weatherford Police Department to combine radio systems with the district to quickly get information to decision-makers in a crisis situation. James Saint, Director of Safety and Security, said the cost for that is about $6,000 and that any excess money needed beyond the grant will be paid for by the Safety and Security budget.  

“This stops the use of several methods of communication in an emergency and allows everyone [police, fire and school administrators] to talk in real-time,” WISD Board President Mike Guest said. “Twenty or 30 seconds makes all the difference in the world.” 

For the buses, because of the expanded coverage area available, drivers will have radios that work while away at sporting events or field trips.  

Additionally, the board: 

*Approved using the competitive sealed proposal method for the proposed fencing project at Weatherford High School. The project will be paid for out of the SAFE Grant Cycle 1 funds and should cost about $200,000.  

*Held a brief reception to honor three of its 14 retirees this year. Karen Allison, Charles Blackwell and Danny Golightly have a combined 82 years in public education.  

*The WISD Board will meet next on June 10.


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