Marshall schools are preparing for classes to begin next week and they're being welcomed back with good news. The school board recently approved a balanced budget - with a surplus.
This comes after months of budget workshops, making cuts and sacrifices."Through a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we took a line by line approach to going through the budget to look for efficiencies," said Dr. Marc Smith, Superintendent at Marshall Independent School District. "Every level and department in the district felt the pinch."
Smith says the district implemented a savings plan, which created a $1.7 million surplus for the '11-'12 school year, and a $250,000 surplus for the '12-'13 school year. He says the largest portion of the savings came from dissolving more than 30 employee positions through attrition, which saved the district about $1.8 million. That was welcomed news from faculty and staff.
"It just really relieves that pressure of, 'will I have a job next week or will I have a job at the end of the year?' said Sharone Woolen, a 4th grade teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary. "You can really just focus on your job itself and that's making sure that the children are successful. I know that we're all appreciative that the district has taken the steps to make us in the positive."
For years, the district often faced deficits. Going into the summer it was facing a $3 million dollar deficit. Now, school officials are making plans for the surplus. They hope to use the surplus for facility maintenance and implementing instructional support programs. They say it may also be used to possibly give teachers raises, next year.
"I'm just excited," said Smith. "We've got good people, we've got a good plan in place and each school year brings new opportunities so I'm ready to get started."