“The deficit assumes all positions will be filled, all budgeted funds will be spent, tax collections will slightly decrease [and] average daily attendance will be less and includes additional one-time funding for COVID-19 of $10 million,” she said.
Board members adopted a $992.3 million budget for FY 2019-20. While this budget included a $27.5 million deficit at the time, Smith said she anticipates a balanced budget by the end of FY 2019-20 next month, if not an addition to the fund balance.
Smith said she anticipates about $995.8 million in revenue next year, about 53.1% of which would be from local sources and 42.5% of which would be from the state. The budget includes $1.02 billion in expenditures and a $24.5 million deficit before employee salary increases are considered.
The board will choose between two options when it comes to employee compensation.
The first option is rolling a one-time payment into the base salary for all employees—$1,000 for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses and $500 for all other full-time employees—for $12.3 million.
The second option involves rolling these one-time payments into base salaries and increasing salaries by 1% for an additional $8.1 million.
“Although this would increase the estimated budget deficit to $44.9 million, the district has a healthy fund balance and has not realized prior budget deficits,” Smith said.
CFISD has a current fund balance of $518.7 million, or about six and a half months in expenditures, according to Smith.
Superintendent Mark Henry added the board has adopted deficit budgets over the last three years and has ended up adding to the fund balance each of those years.
Other budget considerations
The district anticipates student enrollment of 118,498 in the 2020-21 school year, a 0.45% increase over the previous year, Smith said. Hiring new teachers and paraprofessionals to accommodate this growth will cost CFISD about $11.6 million.
One of the biggest changes the school district will face in the upcoming academic year is adapting services as needed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will affect how we educate students until there is a vaccine,” Smith said. “The preliminary budget was built understanding that there will be additional cost to keep our employees and students safe, provide our students the resources for various learning options and to provide remediation due to lost instruction.”
While not all costs under this category can be anticipated, Smith mentioned personal protective equipment, alternative instructional options, additional tutoring services, additional summer school programs, instructional packet printing, devices and internet access and supplies for teachers to clean classrooms between class periods as examples of expenses.
Another $3.5 million will go toward staffing and operating the district’s newest campus, Rowe Middle School. Located next to Cypress Park High School on Westgreen Boulevard, the $58.3 million school construction project was included in the district's 2014 bond package.
CFISD has also set aside $4.1 million for the second semester of full-day pre-K in 2020-21.
The board of trustees is expected to adopt an official FY 2020-21 budget at the June 15 board meeting. See Smith’s full presentation here.