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Typo causes schools to lose August funding

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Executive order assures funds
SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

AUSTIN - To balance the 2004 budget, state legislators decided to delay school funding payments next year one month, paying school districts in September 2004, for their August payments.

Due to a typographic error, the August 2003 payment was also delayed until September.

School districts began scrambling trying to acquire the proper funds to cover the new school year's first month expenses.

Cash-strapped schools with no savings or investment accounts faced the grim decision to apply for short-term loans to keep their districts afloat until the funding would arrive in Sep-

tember.

While many school districts in Ellis County were busy contemplating how they would cover August expenses, Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order on Aug. 6 to send $700 million dollars to school districts throughout the state.

'The goal is to remove the cost of uncertainty for our schools and taxpayers by directing the August payment be made in a timely manner,' Perry said.

'This action means school districts will not have to tap reserve funds or acquire a loan.

'We're talking about $700 million that will go toward insuring adequate funds for teacher and other staff salaries and classroom expenses.'

Chris Scott, finance director for Palmer Independent School District, said the district was going to have to use money from investments and reserves accounts to meet this month's expenses, until the governor approved the funds to pay the regular scheduled payment.

'Now we will get our regularly-scheduled payment on time without having to pull from other accounts,' Scott said.

Legislation was passed in the first special session by members of the House and Senate to correct the issue, but 11 Senate Democrats flew to New Mexico to avoid Republican political redistricting plans before the legislation could be signed.

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