Cy-Fair ISD officials have confirmed additional details about upcoming staffing cuts districtwide due to the projected $138 million shortfall for the fiscal year 2024-25 budget.

“Staff reduction is inevitable when almost 90% of the budget is allocated to personnel,” said Leslie Francis, assistant superintendent for communication and community relations, in an email statement April 29.

Francis said the following positions will be impacted by budget reductions:
  • 50 librarians
  • 320 teachers
  • 66 campus paraprofessionals and support staff
  • 150 district- and campus-level administrators and professional support staff
  • 60 operations positions
  • 21 maintenance positions
What’s happening

Francis said the district will go from having 92 campus librarians to 42 district librarians, who will oversee multiple campuses.

According to a job posting on the district's website, qualifications for school librarians include a master's degree or higher; a valid Texas teaching certificate; and at least two years of experience as a classroom teacher or school librarian for a starting salary of $62,000. A few functions of the role include:
  • Working with other CFISD librarians to ensure a cohesive K-12 program
  • Operating and supervising the library
  • Preparing, administering and maintaining accurate library budget-related records
  • Evaluating, selecting and ordering instructional materials, digital resources and other library equipment
  • Maintaining an efficient system for circulation, retrieval, maintenance and storage of resources
  • Creating an appropriate climate in the library that reflects the philosophy of the school and district
  • Sustaining knowledge of current literature
  • Providing library resource instruction for students and staff
  • Teaching research skills
  • Assisting staff and students with technology
  • Scheduling library programs for students
A district policy passed in August 2022 placed additional responsibilities on campus librarians as parents were given more oversight to object to reading materials.

Additional staffing cuts could be announced over the next several weeks as the board prepares to approve the 2024-25 budget.

In their own words

Ashley Buckner, a CFISD parent and library volunteer, said the public does not fully appreciate how impactful librarians are, particularly at the elementary level.

“It's so much more than just checking in and checking out books and being there during the book fairs. [The libraries are] our central technology hub now. ... [Librarians] are a part of building that curriculum,” she said. “They all require a master's degree. ... All of our elementary schools are based on the same floor plan around that library. These kids are passing their library multiple times a day.”

Out of frustration with news of the cuts from her librarian friends, she started a Facebook group, CFISD Parents for Librarians, on April 27. As of April 30, the group has nearly 5,000 members.

“It's really grown like wildfire. I'm amazed and hopeful that the response it’s received because everyone seems to feel the same way that I do—the need to keep a librarian on every campus,” Buckner said.

Nikki Cowart, president of the Cy-Fair chapter of the American Federation of Teachers union, said she believes the district failed to adequately plan for the new budget.

“These budget cuts will impact every CFISD educator, every CFISD parent and student. We all knew this was coming when the legislative session ended last May. Yet instead of looking for solutions, we seem to be stuck in a blame-game,” Cowart said in an email statement April 30. “People saying CFISD teachers shouldn't expect a pay raise? How about we figure out how our employees don't have to take it on the chin? A long-term plan to work together is vital to ensure we are not in a worse situation this time next year.”

Remember this?

The CFISD board of trustees debated recommendations for the FY 2024-25 budget at an April 22 workshop based on proposals from the district’s budget reduction advisory committee.

The only sizable budget remedy mentioned, aside from borrowing from reserve operating funds, was the possibility of a voter-approval tax rate election, which could bring in an additional $109 million for the district.

However, the district budget reduction advisory committee did not rank that option as high as other options, given that passage of new funds depends on the election outcome.

At the workshop, members of the public asked the board to “quell the rumors” that librarian positions would be eliminated.

“Because of the absolute critical need to develop literacy in our students, I would not support eliminating librarians at any level,” trustee Julie Hinaman said at the April 22 workshop.

What’s next

The board will meet to continue discussing budget options next month. The next board session is scheduled for May 2, followed by the regular monthly meeting May 6.