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La Joya ISD to take $50 million from fund balance to balance budget

2014 LJIS LOGOLa Joya ISD will spend nearly $50 million more than it brings in next year in a budget presented last week.

“Remember, we did undertake an aggressive approach to technology for our schools,” Alfredo Vela, assistant superintendent of finance told La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees at a public hearing on the budget.

He also acknowledged a $2,400 salary boost for teachers and a 4 percent raise for other professionals in the district. Technical and maintenance workers will get a $1.25 per hour raise.

In total, the budget calls for $363 million in expenditures and $314 million of estimated revenue.

About 90 percent of the budget is funded through state and federal government, and the remaining 10 percent comes from local revenue, Vela said.

In previous budget hearings, board members agreed not only to the salary increases, but also to $30 million in projects around the district.

More than $2 million is budgeted for technology upgrades, including iPads and upgrades to La Joya High School, East Academy and West Academy.

The budget includes $12 million for a natatorium and a sports complex on the district’s new Howling Trails Golf Course, as well as $250,000 for improvements to the course itself. Another $1.5 million is budgeted for an emergency dome shelter and $4 million has been set aside for work to the La Joya High, Chavez Middle, Benavides, Leo and Flores schools’ HVAC systems.

Security cameras districtwide make up another $450,000 of the budget, and $900,000 for middle school band instruments. The district will spend $1 million on 10 school buses, $560,000 on two travelling buses for athletics, $60,000 for two police units and $25,000 on a vehicle for the district’s television station.

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