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Spurger ISD Board studies needed budget increases

by Emily Waldrep

Spurger Independent School District held its monthly board meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, at the John Mooney Hicks Administration Building and discussed the budget.

The board reviewed a wish list of items requested by several areas of the school district. The list included toolboxes, a large dolly for mats, ply board, blinds in each classroom in the high school, various items for the baseball and softball fields, more funding for the athletic banquet, a new score board in the Minter Gym, a gym floor cover and baseball equipment upgrades.

"Baseball is a very expensive sport and we are not competitive in baseball, because for one, when you look at the bats that our boys are using, they are $50 bats which seems like a lot but every other school is using $200 bats and the ball is jumping off of it farther and its realistic," said Superintendent Joe Fisher. "Our bats are 2 or 3 years old and theirs are brand new. I know our catchers gear is really old and needs to be updated and that is probably $400-$500 dollars just in gear to protect the child. Then we need some bats and netting and things like that."

The board also expressed a need for a new car to transport a special needs child to Beaumont daily. The current car is older, but will still be used for workshops and smaller trips.

"The new car will pay for itself," Fisher said. "We get $2.56 per mile on the trip to Beaumont and back."

The board also discussed whether to include the $500 FLEX card given to employees in the previous school year, which helped pay for medical expenses or deductibles.

"The response the employees had thanking the board for that was incredible," said Connie Griffith. "I did not put it into the current budget, but it will cost the board about $34,000 to do that."

Fisher said that he would like to keep the FLEX card in place.

"We were not prepared for how well the card would be accepted," Fisher said. "I got thanks all year due to this card. It will pay for glasses, dental work, or prescription medications."

Fisher said that if the board approved the budget including the wish list, health care, cars and other additions that they would be adding $72,000 that would be taken out of the fund balance.

"That's a lot of money," Fisher said. "We are continuing to live on 20 year ago revenue and operate a 2014 school district and its not the same."

The board decided to not make a motion on the budget until looking at the wish list expenditures and cost of a new car.

In other business, the board approved Suburban Propane for their propane supplier and Sun Coast Resources as their fuel supplier.

The next meeting will be held on August 21 at 7 p.m.