Cy-Fair ISD budget cutbacks loom for 2010-11
The Cy-Fair school district is coming down to budget crunch time.
The district is facing a projected $10 million deficit in the 2010-11 operations budget, and similar deficits in the next two to three years if additional funding is not allocated to public education in the 2011 Texas Legislative session, Cy-Fair ISD Superintendent David Anthony said.
Because that probably will not happen, the district will have to reduce the budget each year unless there is an infusion of funding from another revenue source. That could include a property tax increase, which would have to be approved by voters in a tax rollback election.
We have cut to the bone in the past two years," Anthony said. Any additional budget cuts will affect services and the quality education the district provides to its students.
We will continue to meet state standards, but our schools will probably not be as clean, our grounds not as neat and it could become harder to retain the quality staff and instructors that Cy-Fair ISD is known for."
After announcing the $10 million projected 2010-11 budget deficit last fall, district officials opened the door to public input on suggested budget priorities and cuts; received the results from two consulting firms hired to evaluate staffing and operations; met with the Leadership Cy-Fair" committee, which was formed to analyze those reports and community input and to suggest budget cuts; and performed their own analysis of what must happen to maintain the district's financial solvency for the next three years.
Anthony said times are tough and won't get better until the Texas Legislature takes steps to repair the state's flawed public school education funding formula.
Anthony said the bill that set the current formula House Bill 1 was a bad bill."
Cy-Fair ISD's target revenue" the cumulative amount of state and local funds that the district collects for every Weighted Average Daily Attendance student (WADA) was frozen at $4,505 during the 2005-06 budget year. Compared with neighboring school districts, Klein ISD was frozen at $4,809 per WADA, Spring ISD at $4,833 and Tomball ISD at $5,783.
During the 2009 legislative session, House Bill 3646 offered an extra $1.9 billion in stimulus funds for school districts throughout the state. Cy-Fair ISD's WADA rose to $4,716, but still remained below that of neighboring districts and did not adequately cover the district's financial needs.
The district initially faced a projected $28.8 million 2009-10 budget deficit, but that was reduced to $14 million with assistance from state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.
To achieve a balanced 2009-10 budget, the district eliminated 78 staff positions and cut other services, such as transportation services within two miles of a school campus.
Anthony has said he is dedicated to giving Cy-Fair ISD employees a raise in 2010-11 they have not had one in the past two years except for those mandated by the state and that will result in the $10 million deficit. Therefore, cuts will be made in other areas to achieve that goal.
We have to give a raise," Anthony said. We cannot afford to have our high-quality employees move to surrounding districts."
The two reports released by the consulting firms in January suggested more than 30 budget reduction options.
They went through every inch of our budget and made recommendations," Anthony said. Both were very clear that those recommendations were not designed to make our district operate better they were designed to make us spend less."
They go from a little pain to intense pain. We will use them as a road map to remain fiscally sound. Hopefully we will never have to get to those that cause the greatest pain."
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