UPDATED: Cy-Fair ISD adopts $27.5 million deficit budget to raise employee salaries in 2019-20

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Cy-Fair ISD’s board of trustees officially adopted a $992.3 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year Thursday, June 27. The budget includes a $27.5 million deficit, according to the district’s incoming Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith.

This budget is based on a property tax rate of $1.37, which is seven cents less than the 2018-19 tax rate. The district anticipates $964.7 million in total revenue in 2019-20 with 43.48% of funding coming from the state and 54.32% coming from local property taxes, Smith said at the June 24 board work session.

Full-time teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses with up to five years of experience are slated to receive a 3% salary increase, and those with more than five years of experience will receive a 3.5% raise.

These employees will also receive a one-time $1,000 bonus with $500 distributed in December and $500 paid out at the end of the fiscal year. Smith said under this plan, most teachers would receive an average of a 5% raise.

All other employees will receive a 3% increase of the midpoint or base salary and a one-time $500 bonus with $250 distributed in December and $250 paid out at the end of the fiscal year.

The total cost of salary increases and one-time bonuses adds up to more than $36 million, according to district data.

Starting salaries for full-time teachers will increase to $55,500—up from $54,000 in 2018-19. Superintendent Mark Henry said Monday night that this is the eighth consecutive year CFISD has provided employee raises across the board, and he believes salaries will continue to be competitive with neighboring districts.

“I think we’ll be in the same neighborhood with Katy, Klein [and Houston]ISD[s]—all of those around us that we kind of compete with for teachers will be very close,” he said. “There’s some outliers over on the east side, there’s some small districts that have gone up 10[%] or 15%, but … they’re receiving more state funding.”

Funding also includes $6.1 million to hire new teachers as grade levels are added at both Cypress Park and Bridgeland high schools and $2 million to add 29 new elementary school counselors districtwide.

At last month’s board meeting, officials presented a preliminary budget of $990 million, including a $4 million deficit. Smith said modifications were made following the passage of House Bill 3 at the end of the 86th Texas Legislature in late May. After HB 3 funding is factored in, Smith said the district’s net gain compared to 2018-19 ended up being around $14.1 million.

Through HB 3, lawmakers agreed to infuse $11.6 billion into the state’s school finance system through property tax reform, classroom investments and teacher raises over the next biennium. The state’s share of public school funding is projected to increase from 38% to 45% on average statewide, according to the legislation.

This $992.3 million budget adoption comes a year after the district adopted a $12 million deficit budget of $932 million in 2018-19. However, Smith said the district no longer anticipates a deficit in fiscal year 2018-19 because of unexpected funding coming later this year.

See the district’s full 2019-20 budget presentation here.

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Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers public education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development, nonprofits and more in the Cy-Fair community.
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