Correction: The original story was updated Oct. 3 as it incorrectly said the district had undergone layoffs when creating the 2022-23 budget. The story has been updated to clarify the teaching positions were eliminated, as they were a result of teachers retiring, district officials said.

Clear Creek ISD removed 76 teaching positions and transferred money from its contingency fund to make up for budget shortfalls in the final draft of the fiscal year 2022-23 budget plan.

CCISD passed its FY 2022-23 budget at a public hearing Aug. 22, the final step in the budget-setting process. The tax rate is adopted separately and is planned to be approved in September.

The budget was passed amid shortfalls caused by a drop in student attendance during the coronavirus pandemic. Student attendance is estimated to remain unchanged from the previous school year, furthering challenges the district faces to balance its budgets in the coming years.

According to a presentation from Chief Financial Officer Alice Benzaia, 65.5 core teaching units were eliminated, along with 4.5 world language cultures teaching positions and 6.5 visual and performing arts teaching positions. Six positions were added in the areas of advanced academics, career and technology, early learning, leadership development corps, and special education.

The reductions are the first time teaching positions had been eliminated since the 2012-13 school year, Benzaia said in the presentation.

“In 2021 we continued to add positions not knowing the significant [enrollment] drop that we would have post-pandemic,” Benzaia said.

Benzaia said this year’s budget is balanced with a projected transfer of $9.2 million from the district’s capital and contingency funds, which is money reserved to address unforeseen financial issues.

The FY 2022-23 budget plan is dedicated to using no more than 20% of the capital and contingency funds, Benzaia said. She said the total fund balance is estimated at $61.4 million as of July 31.

According to the presentation, this year’s revenue is about $4.5 million less than the FY 2021-22 budgeted revenue, and operating expenses decreased by $4.5 million. The revenue source for the district that saw the largest decrease year-over-year was from state programs, which decreased from $110 million to $88.7 million, Benzaia said.

“We’ve cut our spending even though we are in an inflationary climate,” Board Member Jeff Larson said. “We are doing our part, and we really need the state to do its part. Send the cards and letters to your representatives and state senators because I don’t know how much more blood we can squeeze out of the turnip.”