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Cy-Fair ISD presents preliminary budget for 2019-2020

May 23, 2019

With the 86th Texas Legislative regular session ending May 27, Cy-Fair ISD has planned a potential budget based on the possible passage of school finance legislation.

During the May 16 work session meeting of the CFISD school board, Karen Smith, assistant superintendent of business and financial services, presented a preliminary budget for the 2019-2020 school year.

The budget is not final and is contingent upon the outcome of proposed legislation with financial implications for Texas school districts, specifically House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 4.

Smith said the preliminary budget is based on the Senate version of House Bill 3, which would give teachers and librarians in the state of Texas a $5,000 raise.

“There was Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 3 as far as the school finance version,” she said. “Originally, we weren’t sure which way it would go, but they’re actually going to look at HB 3 and then the Senate heard HB 3 and they made their amendments to it. (Legislators) are currently in committee right now.”

According to Smith, CFISD’s preliminary budget includes $508 million from local revenue, $482 million from state revenue and $20 million for a total of more than $986 million. The district plans to spend more than $990 million, potentially leaving the district with a $4 million deficit.

When board member Tom Jackson asked about the $4 million deficit, also stating Smith has presented deficits in the budget in past years, Smith said she anticipates and hopes that like the 2018-2019 budget, there will not be a deficit once the budget goes into effect due to additional revenue. Smith anticipates funding from a 2017 property value study may be a source of additional revenue for the district.

“This year we’re hoping the deficit will be considerably less than we thought it would be,” Smith said.

The budget hearing and adoption is planned for the June 17 board meeting, and until it is adopted, Smith said none of the estimations are final.

Several factors were taken into consideration when building the preliminary budget, Smith said, including future new facilities, student enrollment growth rate — which is expected to increase by .5% to 1% this year — and an increase of property values by 6.6% based on preliminary values from the Harris County Appraisal District.

Smith said the preliminary plan includes consideration of new facility expenses for a 5-year period, such as the opening of Middle School No. 19 scheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We reserve enough funds to open those campuses,” Smith said. “For example, in 2020-2021, we anticipate opening middle school number 19 and that’s about another $3.5 million in operating costs that we need to take into consideration as part of the budget.”

The preliminary budget accounts for an upcoming increase in health insurance premiums based on the Teacher Retirement System-ActiveCare through the school, Smith said.

“Rather than giving assistance towards the health insurance premiums, what we look at is providing a little bit more salary increase than we would normally provide because about 56% of our employees actually are on our (TRS-ActiveCare) health insurance plan,” she said. “So, to be fair to all employees we take it into consideration in the salary rather than into the premium.”

The budget accounts for $45 million for teacher salary increase based on the Senate version of HB 3, $2.6 million for miscellaneous costs like software, insurance and fuel, $2.6 to $7.8 million for salary increases for other employees and $2.6 million for 2019-2020 school year priorities.

The strong economy of the area and low unemployment presses CFISD to give higher salaries to educators as well as to non-teaching staff. The preliminary budget considers an increase in salary for all classroom teachers and a 1% to 3% increase in salary for other employees.

“We have to really be concentrating on what our salaries are for teachers as well as HVAC technicians, electricians, technology, etcetera, because we have to be competitive with the private sector,” she said. “The goal that the district has in building the budget is to preserve the quality of instruction and services. Also, to have a compensation plan where we can recruit and retain high quality staff. We put a high priority on safety toward students and staff and protect the district’s operational infrastructure.”

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