Blanket ISD Cuts Budget Not Services
In six years, Blanket ISD’s budget has fallen by more than 26 percent. Superintendent Kevy Allred says financial efficiency is key to letting Blanket’s families and taxpayers retain autonomy in rural Brown County community, located 100 miles northwest of San Angelo.
“My budget has gone from $3.3 million my first year to $2.4 million,” Allred says. “We are a small district with 220 kids; that’s only one teacher per grade level.”
In total, Blanket has 36 full-time employees, plus two part-time bus drivers — four fewer staff than 2005.
To cut any more staff, Blanket would have to combine grades, an option Allred discourages.
“I know some schools are doing that to try to survive,” he says. “But at that point either state needs more money or increase taxes — or consolidate with another school.”
Allred doesn’t claim credit for inventing financial efficiency at Blanket, which at $1.105 per $100 property value has the lowest tax rate among Brown County schools. The superintendent counts Blanket’s partnerships with other districts, co-ops and the Region 15 Education Service Center in San Angelo among its smart practices, including:
- Ten FTEs related to the Heartland Special Education Coop in Early where five other schools share special needs professionals, such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. The partnership costs Blanket ISD just about one-sixth the cost of providing these services themselves, saving more than $100,000.
- Two FTEs related to the Brown County Schools Cooperative for their business manager and PEIMS reporting employees, a cost savings of more than $30,000.
- One FTE related to the Region XV Service Center for Federal Programs with an assistant superintendent, a cost savings of more than $50,000.
Perhaps Allred’s biggest brag — and one other districts might not be so proud of — is the great deals he finds on used school buses.
“We just bought a used route bus for $5,500, which hopefully will last us four or five years,” he says. “The highest route bus we’ve paid for was $11,000. With dirt roads and rough roads we cross over, that is the best thing to do.”
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