CROSBY – A school board meeting last Monday filled many in on how the next incoming audit will address the financial conditions and the State of Texas Comptroller had issued a preview of the financial conditions.
Following the Board of Trustee Meeting on Oct. 15 the Crosby ISD School District issued a statement: “At last night’s Regular Board meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the recommendation to terminate the contracts of 33 district employees on a Chapter 21 or non-Chapter 21 contract. Last week at a Special Called Meeting on October 8th, the District declared a state of Financial Exigency making it possible to conduct a mid-year reduction in force. These employees will continue employment with Crosby ISD through December 20th.”
“We are working through this process with a heaviness in our hearts,” said Scott Davis, Superintendent of Schools. “It is our desire to help those affected by the reduction in force find new employment and provide assistance, wherever possible, to facilitate the transition.”
It is believed that some 46 other contracted employees have been laid off to hit about $5.5 Million in employee reduction.
Initially, the administration believed that the 2017-2018 audit would be presented to the Board of Trustees in open session at Monday’s board meeting. But the audit firm requested additional time to complete the audit and present it at a future special-called board meeting. This is the audit that the school has had done for an extensive time and apparently had done so without warning in the past. Evidently, if one really has to look into something extra time will be needed.
During the meeting Monday, employees were among the people that spoke before the meeting including Rachel Newberry, librarian of Charles R. Drew Elementary. Paul Grantham read an open letter from teachers to the board decrying the loss of their jobs when it wasn’t their mistake. Another member of the community spoke decrying that she had been unaware of the dire financial situation until she read about it in a paper at the local post office. She indicated that many seniors in the community did not have internet. She also wanted to know how much her tax would be going up.
The district lowered the tax rate this year. However, appraised value seems to go up in Harris County… often.
In 2016, the report of the State Comptroller claimed that Crosby ISD had $215,000,000 in sinking debt and $238,328,217 in Maintenance and Operations Tax Supported Debt, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. This at a time when Crosby had about 5,680 students or about $41,959 per student. This is way less than Lubbock-Cooper ISD and Ennis, but way over Flour Bluff ISD with about $14,981 per student, and Plainview had $0 per student. They are schools of similar sizes.
Crosby’s Bond Elections were $105,900,000 for new schools and additions in 2017 and $86,500,000 for new school buildings and technology in May of 2013.