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Things are looking up for Crosby as numbers go down

November 14, 2018

Crosby ISD trustees breathed a sigh of relief when they saw their 2018-19 budget trimmed by more than $5 million at a school board meeting Monday night.

The budget cuts, which were accomplished in part through more than 100 layoffs this semester, was deemed necessary amid a financial crisis that threatened the district’s solvency. The layoffs allowed the district to trim its payroll costs from an estimated $46.3 million or 89 percent of the general fund to $42.9 million or 83 percent.

The 2017-18 payroll was estimated at $47.9 million, which accounted for 88 percent of the general budget excluding other resources.

With layoffs and budget cuts Crosby ISD has trimmed its general fund budget from $57,453,625 to $52,004,900 — a 9.5 percent decrease.

“That is a realistic budget, a right sized budget,” Chief Financial Officer Lesa Jones said.

Jones said if the payroll costs remained the same for the 2018-19 school year then these costs would have accounted for 92 percent of the 2018-19 recalculated budget.

Jones said a full year of the reduction in force will bring payroll costs to about 80 percent of their current general fund budget — a sustainable amount.

“So as (Superintendent Scott) Davis promised we were going to right size the budget and that has happened,” Jones said. “This was a team effort. There were hours and hours of trying to balance the budget.”

Crosby ISD staff made changes even as funds from local state and federal fund sources declined.

Local revenues went down from $23 million to $21 million, state revenues went down from $32.8 million to $29.6 million and federal revenues went down from $1.5 million to $1.2 million.

“It is a decrease of $5.5 million, that $5 (million) to $6 million that we talked about that we’re short,” Jones said.

Campuses and district departments were also asked by Superintendent Davis to cut other costs in their budgets by as much as 60 percent.

Overall expenses that were cut by other campuses and departments were approximately $2.3 million, a 25 percent decrease.

“It is unbelievable what they’re willing to do to save Crosby,” Jones said.

Jones noted that although expenses were cut to a minimum there are costs and fixed rates such as utilities, fuel, legal fees and resources officers that cannot be cut.

kaila.contreras@chron.com

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