A lack of growth in student enrollment has caused San Marcos CISD to look into cost-saving methods that can be used throughout the district in the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, Superintendent Michael Cardona said.

A closer look

A total of $3.82 million in savings to the district was approved during a regular board meeting April 15. Trustees voted to approve attrition—or not refilling nonessential positions—a hiring freeze for noninstructional positions and a reduction in travel for professional development.

SMCISD officials maintained there would be no layoffs or staff fired as a result of the vote to cut costs.

“We are all talking about attrition, which is cost savings due to not refilling some positions, which is unfortunate, right? I don't think anybody likes that idea either necessarily, but we are not looking to do layoffs,” board President Anne Halsey said.

Trustees voted against three other potential cost-saving items:
  • Reduce and cap insurance at $350, requiring all SMCISD employees who use insurance to pay more into the plan.
  • End Longevity Pay, a financial reward granted to employees based on tenure.
  • Reduce the noninstructional work calendar by three days, which district officials said could have led to a decrease in hourly employees.
Put into perspective

The district is already looking at a shortfall for the upcoming FY 2024-25 budget without adding any positions, said Michael Doyle, SMCISD executive director of business and finance.

“If we're working off of an $84 million approximate revenue, we're looking anywhere between $14 [million] to $16 million in deficit,” Doyle said.

Cardona said the district has seen a decrease in enrollment by around 1,100 students in the past five or six years.

“I mean, ... it's either we find ways to do more with the people we have in the buildings [and] as people attrition out we become more efficient with some of the curriculums and some of the things that we can do,” Cardona said. “And also reward the teachers who are working really hard inside the building. But you can't do that when 93% of your budget is people and the cost of everything is going up.”