Budget error at Forney ISD leads to major shortfall

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 6:14 PM

FORNEY - Forney Independent School District has some explaining to do to its taxpayers. The district spent $13.6 million that was not its to spend.

It belonged to the State of Texas, and now Forney has to cut its budget to pay the money back.

The district's new superintendent, Mike Holland, has been on the job for three weeks.

"It's going to be the goal of this district and it's going to be the priority of this district that we protect the integrity of the academic classroom," Holland said. "That we don't ever allow that to change."

Every year school, districts estimate the number of students they'll have and that dictates how much funding they get from the Texas Education Agency.

Forney based its projects on a recent history of rapid growth. However last year, their projections fell way short. Forney collected too much money and spent it all.

“There's nothing that indicates that anyone was aware of the overpayment,” Holland said.

Forney's annual operating budget is $52 million. The district's budget error represents 26 percent of the district's total budget.

Ordinarily the state requires the money be paid back over the course of one year. The district is now asking the state for five years.

"It's not a challenge we can correct in one year, or two years," Holland said. "It's gonna be five years. It's gonna have to continue to go on past that."

The state said it will consider Forney's terms.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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