11-28-2011 Monday Message

CSISD Staff:

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Sally and I were glad to slow down for a few days and reflect on the blessings that faith, family, friends and work bring into our lives.

Here are a couple of updates related to issues CSISD has been working through:

First, as you probably are aware, it has been determined that CSISD will not implement a three-tiered busing system for the 2012-2013 school year. While moving to a three-tiered system would have saved the district around $200,000 dollars annually, the change would have also caused a significant amount of change for families and staff across the district. Ultimately, it was determined that the savings created via a three-tiered system were not worth the stress such a change would put on CSISD and the community. Depending on school finance issues over the years to come, the district could re-visit the three-tiered system in future years.

As we continue to develop the 2012-2013 budget, the district will frame the budget work around three principles:

• Reduce the budget in a thoughtful manner
• Use the district’s fund balance in a responsible manner
• Use the taxpayer resources available to us in an efficient manner

As the 2012-2013 budget takes shape, efforts will be made to keep you informed and updated.

Second, At the November 15, 2011 School Board Meeting, the board voted to participate in a school finance lawsuit that is to be filed in the near future by the law firm of Thompson and Horton LLP. CSISD is one of many districts to join this suit, and we view our participation in such a suit as a last option. It was our hope that the Texas Legislature, during their most recent session, would address the Texas school finance issues in a meaningful way; however, the legislature failed to put in place a finance system that addresses the need for districts to prepare all students for post-secondary education and the workforce.

In a nutshell, the suit to be filed by Thompson and Horton says that the state does not provide adequate funding for public schools in light of the state’s high standards. It’s interesting to note that expectations for all public school students have been raised, yet the legislature has reduced funding to school districts. This year, CSISD is serving 10,648 students with less money than we served 10,360 students last year. And, next year our revenue from the state will be reduced again. In addition, the Thompson and Horton suit will argue that the state school finance system is so complex that it is largely unexplainable, and that funding levels for school districts have become arbitrary and not reasonably connected to the state’s requirements for students. Such a system cannot be efficient or suitable as required by the Texas constitution. And, the Thompson and Horton suit will argue that districts do not have any “meaningful discretion” over their own taxes to enrich what is required by the state. It appears that the only discretion districts across Texas have is to make reductions in programs that are important to parents, students and communities.

As work is being done on the back-end of the district related to the budget and lawsuit, I am mindful of the tremendous work that happens on the front-end of the district every single day in our schools. Thank you for your hard work, for your willingness to go the extra mile for our students and families and for your commitment to seeing our students succeed.

Success.
Eddie
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College Station Independent School District
1812 Welsh College Station, TX 77840 Phone: (979) 764-5400 Fax:
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