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2011-06-22 / Front Page

RISD board approves $300K in cuts

By Rey Sifuentes Jr.

The Riviera Independent School District’s board of trustees decided to cut $373,602 from their 2011-2012 school year budget by a 5-2 vote during a meeting held at the Kenneth Huff Administration Building last Thursday evening.

Voting in favor of the compensation plan were Board President Jose “Buddy” Naranjo, Vice President John Beadle, Secretary Becky Gutierrez, Billy Colston III and Tomas “Tommy” Longoria. Voting against it were trustees Wilson Martin and Danny Strubhart.

RISD Business Manager Jose Betancourt Jr. said the district is expecting to lose more than $700,000 in state funding over the next two academic years.

The cuts are disbursed among several departments. The biggest hit will be taken by the general operating fund, which is losing $100,000.

The district is also absorbing positions relinquished by an elementary principal ($60,495) who recently retired, an elementary teacher who resigned ($50,740), and a high school math teacher ($43,540) who retired.

As part of a reduction in force, the district let go one library aide ($19,923), a high school aide ($19,304), a food services consultant ($15,000) and an IT assistant ($7,000).

Coaches will find their paychecks a little lighter, with $18,600 for athletic stipends being cut from next year’s budget. Football coaches will not receive a combined $10,000 traditionally paid to them for running twoa day summer practices. The Seahawk’s offensive coordinator’s annual stipend of $4,000 has been decreased to $2,400 to match the defensive coordinator’s stipend, Betancourt said.

The athletic director’s stipend of $5,036 will remain unchanged.

RISD coaches will no longer receive their $1,500 stipends for assisting in basketball games (scoreboard and game clock) or for keeping the weight room open after hours for athletes who do not participate in certain sports at different times of the season. The district’s reduction in force also did away with the program’s athletic trainer.

“That is definitely going to hurt,” Athletic Director Perry Graves said. “We are expecting coaches to work long hours, and I understand that our school finances are in a rough spot, but at the same time it is still going to be tough on us.”

Supplemental pay stipends are taking a $9,000 hit. The head band director is losing $4,000 from his annual stipend. Both the FFA Director and the assistant will receive $2,500 less. The assistant band director’s current stipend of $4,000 will drop to $2,500 next year.

Betancourt, however, said the district is saving $30,000 in benefit savings which would have gone to insurance and retirement costs had the district replaced staff members who recently retired or were terminated.

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