SCHERTZ — Eliminating the school district’s police department will be the top agenda item for Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD’s board meeting on March 22.
Board president Gary Inmon said Wednesday that the district is taking an incremental approach to slicing its budget, which will take a huge hit because of the projected $27 billion state budget shortfall. He said cutting the district’s police force would save about $300,000.
“A worst-case scenario has us looking at a $15 million deficit over last year’s budget,” Inmon said. “We’re trying to create ways to bridge that.”
Inmon said the district is looking at spreading its cuts into five increments of $3 million each to avoid the last measure, a mass layoff of teachers — which he said is not in the cards.
“Some of our priorities (in cuts) are set, and they involve things that will not directly affect the classroom,” he said. “One of those things is the police force, which a lot of districts our size don’t have.”
Superintendent Greg Gibson has recommended eliminating the decade-old police force. Inmon said the move won’t leave the district unprotected, as city and county authorities would likely be contracted to perform that duty.
“If we don’t do it, it will fall back in the cities to do it,” he said. “If we contract for those services by the cities, their patrols would come into our facilities from time to time, but not nearly so much as they do now.”
Inmon says the district’s financial state is “relatively healthy.” He said the SCUCISD has a fund balance of between $22 million and $25 million, and the district might use up to $10 million of that to plug a short-term financial hole.
“We’re hoping that can fill in come of the gaps in the short term — doing it in lieu of laying off a lot of folks,” he said. “But our district is in fairly good shape, so calling for a financial exigency is something we probably wouldn’t vote for.”
If the board approves dismantling the district police force, Inmon wasn’t sure when it would actually happen.
“I don’t think it will mean that it will happen the day after we vote — it probably wouldn’t happen until we finish the school year,” he said. “But that will be part of the discussion on Tuesday. We probably won’t eliminate police force employees altogether. ... they just won’t be our employees any more.”