BANGS - The next school year will be tight financially, but Bangs Independent School District Superintendent Bill Foster said Thursday better times lie ahead.

“There are a lot of cuts, a lot of cuts,” Foster told members of the school board at a public hearing on the 2008-2009 budget. “This is one of those years where we’re having a dip, but if we can hold to this budget this year, it will be better in the future.”

After the hearing, at which no one appeared to speak, trustees adopted the $1,080,000 budget along with a total tax rate of $1.22740 per $100 valuation to fund it. The total rate includes $1.04 for operations and maintainence, and $0.18740 for debt service, known as the interest and sinking fund.

Last year’s rates were $1.12 and $0.15830 and a total of $1.27830. Last year’s budget was $1.1 million.

Foster said the tax rate reduction means the owner of residential property valued at $100,000 will pay $50.90 a year less in taxes, although the comparison is not directly applicable because valuations have gone up.

Figures presented at the hearing showed that the rate the school district would have to adopt to maintain the same level of maintenance and operations revenue and pay debt service would be $1.50757.

“Of course, we’re not doing that,” Foster said.

Despite cuts that Foster described as being “from top to bottom,” he said the budget does provide each school principal with an additional $10,000 for supplies and $50,000 more for utilities. The budget was calculated based on an average daily attendance of 1,035, and that that seems realistic with enrollment standing now at 1,082.

“Based on a 96 percent attendance rate, we should be able to make that,” Foster said. State funding for schools is based on attendance.

Foster said the district’s fund balance is lower than its auditor and the Texas Education Agency like to see, and that it would probably cost the school points in its financial ratings.

“But we expect to have $1.4 million in the fund balance, which is more than we thought we would have,” Foster said. “We would like to see $2.2 million, and we’re getting there.”

Foster said the board did not need to consider any amendments to the 2007-2008 budget, nor did it need to consider resolutions regarding target percentage for specific functions within the budget because all had been met or were within the target range.