EDUCATION Cy-Fair ISDenrollment down, expenses up in 202021
BY DANICA LLOYD
necessarily be tied to being open for in-person learning because dierent regions of the state have been aected by COVID-19 at dierent rates. “It’s obvious that all educators have a desire to get back into the class- rooms and resume normal instruction as soon as health and safety permit,” ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter said in an Oct. 1 statement. “But that’s contingent on a number of factors unique to each region. Pressure of any sort from TEA and the state is not necessary or helpful and serves only to potentially heighten the risk to local populations.” Budgetmodications CFISD Chief Financial Ocer Karen Smith said the district saved money while campuses were closed in the spring on costs such as transportation, utilities and substitute teachers. How- ever, additional expenses incurred included the printing and delivery of instructional packets, personal pro- tective equipment and instructional software for remote learning. Since the spring semester, the dis- trict has incurred about $57.1 million in unexpected expenses ranging from technology purchases and social distancing measures such as plexi- glass desk shields to overtime pay for hourly employees and increased substitute costs. Additionally, Smith said revenue is down from previous projections in areas such as athletic game ticket sales, food services, facility rentals and community programs, totaling $7.8 million in lost revenue. Some federal assistance may be available to CFISD this year, but Smith said she does not believe it will be enough to completely make up for the shortfall. The board of trustees previously approved a $1.04 billion budget for the year in June—including $10 million for COVID-19 expen- ditures—but this budget already included a $39.8 million decit. Henry called the updated TEA provision “a huge help” and said he was optimistic about the district’s nancial state despite the unusual expenses this year. “My message to the [district leader- ship team] was whatever it takes this year to get through this year, that’s just what it costs,” he said.
In a school year likely to be remem- bered for increased health and safety measures on campuses, Cy-Fair ISD ocials said about 2,575 fewer students were enrolled at the start of school than expected. “Districts across the state are any- where from 2%-7% belowwhat their estimates were for students this year,” Superintendent Mark Henry said at an Oct. 8 meeting. “The biggest part of that for Cy-Fair ISD—and it’s reected across the state—is your pre-K and [kindergarten].” Districts across the state oering in-person instruction are guaranteed to receive their anticipated funding through the rst half of the 2020-21 school year regardless of changes in student enrollment or attendance rates due to COVID-19, according to six-week extension to the minimum funding guarantee established due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure exibility and nancial security for school districts, according to a press release. Remote instruction will also be fully funded for those who wish to learn from home as previously announced by TEA ocials. “Given the uncertain nature of this public health crisis, we are giving as much support and exibility as possible to school districts to ensure that we are balancing the need for student learning with our desire to help all our state’s students, teachers, sta, and families remain healthy and safe,” Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement. Statewide, school districts have generally seen a slight decline in enrollment in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, and ocials said the exten- sion allows time for enrollment to become more stable. Districts taking advantage of this extension must identify and locate students who are not currently participating in either in-person or virtual instruction. Funding adjustments for the second semester will be based on data gathered through January. the Texas Education Agency. Ocials announced Oct. 1 a Ocials with the Association of Texas Professional Educators said they were grateful for the extension in guaranteed funding from the TEA but do not believe funding should
District ocials said pre-K-12 enrollment is down from last year’s total count of 117,446 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019-20 2020-21 Q1
ONCAMPUS, ONLINE LEARNING BREAKDOWN* FIRST QUARTER ON CAMPUS: 47,234 ONLINE: 61,429
ON CAMPUS: 69,018
*DATA INCLUDES ENROLLMENT AT ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUSES. STUDENTS IN THE “UNKNOWN” CATEGORY DID NOT RESPOND TO DISTRICT ENROLLMENT QUESTIONNAIRES.
The pandemic has brought on several unexpected costs and drops in revenue. Technology ........................ $46.7M Personal protective equipment .......................... $477,000 Social distancing and protective measures ........... $5.1M Sanitation........................... $1.5M Overtime and supplemental pay............... $2.4M Substitutes and COVID-19 leave................... $652,000 COVID-19 online dashboard .......................... $222,000
TOTAL ADDITIONAL EXPENSES $57.1M
SOURCE: CYFAIR ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
CYFAIR EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020
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