School’s budget helps to buy two properties

HARLINGEN — The school district has a sizeable budget and an impressive amount of revenue coming in.

That budget is more than $210 million, the same amount of money coming in, but the district is paying only $12 million in debt service. Why so little? Can’t they pay a little more and lower the tax rate?

Well, it’s not that simple.

“When it comes to budgeting, we have to look at additional factors,” said Julio Cavazos, chief financial officer.

“The $12 million is our annual payments that we need to support that debt,” he said. “That’s the amount that we budget for that debt.”

The district would like to budget more to pay off debt, but it would mean cutting elsewhere. They wish they could budget more to pay off some more of that debt, but it would mean cutting some more appropriations elsewhere.

“We try to focus our dollars on the instruction,” Cavazos said. “It would be hard to take something from there to pay some debt.”

The district recently made two property purchases. One of them is a 35-acre tract for which the district paid $450,000. The district also paid $57,000 for a small lot with a house near Boggus Stadium. Cavazos speculated the lot would eventually be used as parking space. The 35 acres is near Tamm Lane. Projections indicate future growth may call for a new school.

He said now was a good time to make the purchase before property values increase.