Property taxes, Harvey update: What to know after last night’s Cy-Fair ISD board meeting

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The Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees met Sept. 11 to take action on the 2017-18 property tax rate and hear the latest reports on Harvey and the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results. Next month’s meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at 10300 Jones Road, Houston.

Property tax rate

The board of trustees unanimously approved the 2017 tax rate resolution by setting a rate of $1.44—$1.04 for maintenance and operations, and 40 cents for the interest and sinking rate. This rate has not changed since 2013 when the board voted to lower the tax rate from $1.45 to $1.44.

Harvey update

Between 95-99 percent of district employees were able to make it to work on the first day of school yesterday, and the highest number of absent employees at any school was nine, according to officials. However, more than 200 students have been identified as displaced from another district or school within Cy-Fair.

Because CFISD typically has more instructional minutes than is required by the state, the district will still exceed required instructional time by the end of the academic year even after missing nine school days, said Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum, instruction and accountability.

Superintendent Mark Henry said after initially deciding the first day of school would be Sept. 6, he made the decision to postpone it to Sept. 11 after learning new information from local MUDs. At the time, up to eight facilities could have had wastewater issues. All schools were able to open Monday with no water problems, he said.

Board members commended district officials for their efforts at the Berry Center’s supply collection and distribution center in the days following Hurricane Harvey. More than 5,000 families were assisted there, Henry said.

“Everybody just stepped up, and it wasn’t surprising to me,” Trustee Don Ryan said.

2017 STAAR results

Macias said this year’s STAAR assessments had such significant changes that the Texas Education Agency did not provide comparison data from last year. Changes included a reduced number of questions for grades 3-8, English I and II EOC no longer containing short answer questions and revised accommodation policies, among other adjustments.

CFISD scores surpassed the state averages, according to TEA data. For the fifth consecutive year, CFISD was the largest district in Texas to have all eligible schools receive the “Met Standard” rating from the TEA, Henry said. The district also received 217 distinction designations at various campuses.

Macias said the district will continue to monitor student progress and focus on elementary writing tests.

“We’re not satisfied until every student is successful,” Henry said. “Even though all of our campuses met [the]TEA standard, they don’t necessarily meet the CFISD standard, and we monitor those schools…because it’s not just a percentage—it’s a child.”

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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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