Impact of Proposed State Cuts to Public Education
Clear Creek Independent School District
Office of Public Information
2425 East Main Street
League City, Texas 77573
January 26, 2011
Contact: Elaina Polsen, Public Information Director
(281) 284-0020 or email@example.com
IMPACT OF PROPOSED STATE CUTS TO PUBLIC EDUCATION
League City, Texas- The Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) believes its schools are the hubs of the community, a safe place where students flourish as learners and leaders in the 21st century. In order to understand the impact of both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate proposed budgets will have on school districts such as the Clear Creek Independent School District, one must first recognize the ill-effect House Bill 1, passed in 2006, has had on CCISD’s fiscal ability to meet the needs of a diverse student population, retain highly qualified teachers, and keep pace with inflationary costs associated with health care, fuel, insurance and electricity.
What did the 2006 version of House Bill 1 do to public education?
- Capped per-student funding based on 2006 property values. Basically, CCISD has been operating on 2006 funding levels and it is now 2011. CCISD’s per-student allotment is $5,340.00
- The additional revenue in local property value growth from 2006 went directly to the general fund in Austin and now the State is taking more. For example, based on the 2008 average home price in CCISD, the district sends roughly $1.5 million to Austin every year where that money could have been better utilized locally. The $1.5 million does not include business property or new construction since 2006
- House Bill 1 did not include a year-to-year increase to account for inflationary costs associated with fuel, electricity, health insurance, or cost-of-living for employees
The Clear Creek Independent School District has met this challenge to date, reducing operating expenditures by $12 million over the last two years. Prior to the budgets proposed by the House ($9.8 billion reduction) and the Senate ($9.3 billion reduction), CCISD projected a $27 million shortfall over the next five years to simply keep up with inflation and to meet the needs of 38,500 students. This $27 million shortfall does not include pay increases for its 5,000 employees. Additionally, local school boards are the only local government entities that are prohibited from changing the maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate without an election of voters. The M&O rate is what pays for salaries, utilities, materials and supplies, etc.
Going into this Legislative session, local school districts were calling on lawmakers to make education a priority and fix the problems associated with House Bill 1 (2006). CCISD could not have anticipated this second wave of deep cuts proposed by the Legislature. The proposed budgets will reduce the State’s contribution to public education by nearly 20%. For CCISD, this is a $40 million reduction to its $288 million operating budget.
What does the budget proposals mean for CCISD?
- A $40-$50 million immediate reduction to its $288 million operating budget
- It equates to 975 jobs for Clear Creek ISD, this is based on the average salary of all staff. This equals 15% of CCISD’s entire workforce
- Even if CCISD eliminated the positions of the entire central administration, including the superintendent, that would generate only $6 million dollars. Clear Creek ISD would still need $34 million to balance the budget. Clear Creek ISD has one of the lowest Administrators to Staff ratios in Texas with 4.7% compared to 11% statewide
- If CCISD sought voter authorization for 13 pennies, the maximum allowed by state law, the additional pennies would only cover roughly half of the $40 million
- The proposed budgets do not fund new students. The Clear Creek Independent School District is considered a fast growth school district with 350 to 500 new students every year
- The proposed budgets reduce or entirely eliminate funding for technology, and math and science initiatives
It is too early to speculate what course of action CCISD would take in the event state budget projections come to fruition. The district has established a Finance Advisory Committee, a group of citizens and employees, which will begin meeting January 26, 2011. The committee was formed to creatively deal with the impact of House Bill 1 (2005) but this latest proposal from the House of Representatives will certainly put an additional sense of urgency to the committee’s work. The committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in May, 2011 as to how the district can avert long-term budget shortfalls while maintaining the quality of education currently offered in Clear Creek ISD.
For more information contact the Clear Creek Independent School District at 281-284-0020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.