San Benito CISD budget shortfall

San Benito CISD Superintendent Antonio Limon spoke with Action 4 News.

Student enrollment numbers are down at the San Benito Consolidated Indepedent School District forcing administrators to overcome a $1 million dollar shortfall.

"We're just at a point now where we're going to have to tighten the belt a bit and live within our budget," Superintendent Tony Limon told Action 4 News.

San Benito CISD projected about 11,300 students this year for its peak enrollment, up 200 from last year.

But the books only show that 10,980 students are currently enrolled at the Cameron County district.

That translates into revenue lost, especially when you consider each student reportedly brings in about $4,500 dollars.

Superintendent Limon told Action 4 News that immediate cutbacks are needed to get the $85 million dollar budget back in order.

There is one piece of good news.

"Nobody is going to lose their job," Limon assured Action 4 News.

He credits catching the shortage early enough to prevent that from happening.

But fears of a deficit are leading to changes.

Effective immediately staff travel has been cutback along with general supplies and overtime.

The Rio Grande Valley district is also holding off on vehicle and furniture purchases and reducing energy costs.

That means when a teacher leaves the classroom, the lights will have to be turned off.

Limon also said the thermostats will also be raised at all school buildings to 78 degrees.

Action 4 News asked Limon why enrollment fell below projected enrollment by 410 students. That's a 3.6 percent drop.

"Two charter schools opened in our district and those two charter schools probably took about a hundred students," explained Limon.

Action 4 News has also learned the economy is another contributing factor to the declining enrollment numbers in the district.

With home foreclosures on the rise, many families have apparently moved outside San Benito. The superintendent also blames Hurricane Dolly.

Although school parents told Action 4 News that they support the superintendent's budget balance plan, Patricia Alvarez said student instruction should go untouched.

"I hate to see us cutting back on any of or budgets...but sometimes you my have to do that with the economy the way it is, said the great grandmother of a first grade student.