Marfa ISD's Deficit Budget Calls for Cuts, Band First on the List

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Superintendent Andy Peters is excited to announce that the school board has authorized him to hire a band director.

Peters already has a few applications in for the position and will be conducting his first interview on Tuesday.

According to the Superintendent of Marfa ISD, Andy Peters, he has been "authorized to look for a band director" by the board.

Peters met with the board Thursday to discuss the future of the Marfa Band.

CBS 7 is working to bring you more information on this as it develops.
Marfa ISD may be saying goodbye to their band program this school year due to their nearly $400,000 deficit budget.

For the past three years incoming freshman McKaila Alanis has been playing the flute, and if you ask her what she's looking forward to most this fall, it's marching in her high school's band.

"I've always loved music since I was little," said McKaila. "I've always wanted to play the flute, but we never had band in elementary."

Only time will tell if McKaila will get to accomplish her goal.

But band is only one of several cuts the district is facing.

During Monday night's school board meeting Superintendent Andy Peters presented the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year.

Although the meeting consisted of pure discussion and no actions, Peters made it clear that band is at the top of the list to get cut.

Rarely do a handful of homes in Marfa get sold each year, but when they do those sales increase property values throughout town, creating a headache for many including Peters.

"If Austin thinks our [property] values should be higher than they are, or if we cant get the local appraisal district to raise it, or Austin to lower it, then we get punished by the state," Peters said. "The state says, your property values aren't as high as they should be therefore we're going to give the schools less money."

It's an unpredictable and never ending cycle that's costing the city just over $260,000 in penaties every year according to Peters.

"So the state takes money from us twice: once as the [property] values go up, and a second time, because they don't go up in the anticipation that the state wants them to," Peters said.

During Monday night's school board meeting members agreed that the only way to solve this problem is to apply pressure on their local appraisal district.

Board members want to see the appraisal district raise property values in order to meet the state's values -- even if that means having closer communication with state officials.

No one from the appraisal district was able to attend Monday's board meeting, however they will be present during the next meeting scheduled for August 8th.

But until that gets coordinated, Marfa ISD is left with some serious decisions to make to help balance out their budget.

Besides cutting the band, Peters is proposing to move sixth grade back up to the junior high level.

He's also not planning to replace 10 teachers and ne coach who left the district over the summer, as well as a few teacher aide positions.

"Unfortunately state funding and the property value situation here in Marfa has just made it impossible, the state hasn't put any additional money into the system," Peters said.

Peters says the only other resolution to their financial problems is to find more students to enroll, or hold a tax ratification election, which he says isn't something he's willing to do.

The school board will be making their final decisions on what to cut on August 29th.

Other programs that may be at risk at getting cut are the early college, culinary and robotics.

Peters says now is the time where they can really use some help from local businesses and the community.