Gunter Schools Facing Budget Crisis - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Gunter Schools Facing Budget Crisis

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GUNTER, TX -- A Grayson County school district is facing a potential budget crisis, as student enrollment drops and school officials are forced to slash expenses.

One school's loss is another's gain, as Tioga schools have been hiring, while Gunter schools have been cutting their budget and may need to resort to layoffs.

With fewer students coming to Gunter schools, school officials are working to head off a looming crisis in their finances. "This past year we cut our budget over half a million dollars with non-personnel reductions," says superintendent Dr. Jill Siler. "At this point, with 80 percent of our school funding coming from the personnel side, we are looking at other options which could impact personnel."

To make up a roughly $500,000 gap in their budget, Siler says the school board plans to offer an "early resignation incentive" to employees, and also consider layoffs.

While enrollment may be dropping in Gunter, it is growing in Tioga, where for the first time in about 50 years, they now have a ninth grade class. "We started this year with 21 freshmen," says Tioga superintendent Dr. Charles Holloway.

The class will become the first to graduate from the new Tioga High School in 2016, taking away a population that would have gone to Gunter High School. "With the launch of their new high school over the next four years, it will have a direct impact on our district," says Siler.

Gunter will lose funding for the Tioga students, as Tioga begins new traditions. "We started six-man football and played kind of a renegade schedule this year," says Holloway. "We played six games, so that was a big thing, our band is starting."

Tioga also started a day care program increasing total enrollment to 271 students with 53 staff members. Gunter, with 805 students and 108 staff members, may create a similar program.

"We have been looking at all sorts of financial efficiencies in the system, everything from energy conservation to even starting new programs such as an extended day program and even starting a 3-year-old program," says Siler.

Tioga constructed a new Middle and High School building several years ago, but may add a new wing with money from that prior bond, Holloway says. Meantime, Gunter's school board will discuss possible layoffs for the next school year at their meetings starting in January.