The Early ISD Board of Trustees swore in Dr. Randy Ethridge to fill its vacated seat in a Monday-evening meeting at the EISD Administration Building.  

Ethridge will replace the resigned Anna Allen and is beginning his second stint on the board. Board president Shawn Russell said the group is excited to have Ethridge back. “You did a phenomenal job, and we’re blessed that you’re willing to come back and fill this vacant position for us,” she said.   

The board also received a policy update from the Texas Association of School Boards and reviewed the proposed budget for next school year.   

District business manager Becky Seale said the district will run a $500,000 deficit for the year. Superintendent Wes Beck said EISD is taking a hard look at its staffing numbers. “We’re a little overstaffed,” he said. “The things that look like they’re overstaffed … are the things that make Early, Early. That’s the hard part for all of us.   

“Those are the things that we hate to cut, because those are the things that make us who we are,” Beck said.   

Seale said the district is trying to offer the same programs with less money, and without raising the local tax rate which has been steady for the past three years. She said the district will continue to search for ways to operate more efficiently and close the gap.   

The group also discussed the outcome of the recent Texas state legislative session, which decreased public school funding in its budget and may require a special session for school finance. The legislature also passed the so-called “Bathroom Bill,” which will apply only to schools and requires students to use restrooms that correspond with their biological sex.   

The board discussed the 2017-18 budget for about an hour. It then convened in a closed session to discuss specific staffing decisions.