Crosby ISD declares fiscal emergency

Carla Mills Windfont warns not to forget our principles before the Oct. 8 meeting is declared in order.
Carla Mills Windfont warns not to forget our principles before the Oct. 8 meeting is declared in order.

CROSBY – The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution declaring Crosby Independent School District as being in a state of Financial Exigency at Monday’s Special Called Meeting at the Operations Center.

Texas Education Code defines Financial Exigency as a school district where financial resources are insufficient to support the district’s instructional programs or the school district is unable to finance the full compensation of staff for the current or succeeding fiscal year.

Approving the resolution allows the district to proceed with a reduction in personnel that would be necessary to correct budget issues. Included in the resolution were several employment areas that would be impacted by the reduction in force.

JoeAnne Crawford, a former Trustee, defeated in an election when Gerald Blankenship presided, during the Hearing of Citizens was very critical of the board’s decisions.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Davis stated, “Tonight’s board meeting officially marks the beginning of the reduction in force process with the board’s approval of the resolution declaring Financial Exigency and listing of the employment areas to be impacted. Some of you may have heard rumblings that some employees have already been notified of their future with Crosby ISD. Last week we met with 18 employees who would be easily identifiable per tonight’s resolution, as they constitute an employment area with only one or two employees. Because this agenda needed to be posted last Friday to be in compliance with requirements set forth by the Texas Open Meetings Act, we wanted to notify those employees that would be easily identifiable of their employment status with Crosby ISD. It is a difficult process, but it is our earnest desire to give every employee the respect and dignity they deserve. For this reason, I met with these employees ahead of the board meeting. As these conversations begin, many have asked about the process for the reduction in force. There are several legal scenarios that we have applied to finalize staff reduction decisions:

1. Eliminating an entire employment area was possible without having to apply the criteria set in place by Board Policy DFFA (local). In these cases, professional employment areas were affected when duties assigned to those areas could be shifted to remaining personnel Contact: Viviana Killion, Director of Community Relations Phone: 281-328-9200 Email: Crosby Independent School District 706 Runneburg Road, Crosby, TX 77532 and would have the least disruptive impact to classroom instruction and district operations. Additionally, the majority of these employment areas consist of no more than one or two employees. These employees will be allowed to remain with the district until December 20th to minimize mid-semester disruptions, whenever possible, but have already been notified of their recommended status with the district.

2. Reducing parts of an employment area. One of the areas listed in tonight’s resolution was that of ‘Teachers-All Levels’. Because this is obviously an employment area that cannot be eliminated entirely, we are obligated to apply the criteria in Board Policy DFFA (local). Teachers are also given the option of remaining until December 20th to minimize instructional impact. Teachers will be notified prior to the October 15th board meeting, but will not be considered officially reduced until the board votes to do so.

3. At-will employees will be reduced based on least disruptive impact to district operations. These employees will be given a final employment date of November 2nd. Because of the at-will status of these positions, there is no required criteria to be applied. We approached the task of reducing at-will employees by taking into account that these positions would have the least negative impact on children in classrooms. These employees will be notified of their status with the district next week following the October 15th board meeting. Let me be clear. All staff reductions will have ripple effects that are undeniable, but we have been charged with the impossible task of having to determine the changes that will have the least impact on our children and the long-term health of our district. Saving Crosby ISD is the ultimate goal and in order to do this, difficult and agonizing decisions have to be made. It is my hope that as the district’s enrollment continues to grow, we can carefully add back some of these positions in a way that is healthy for our district in future years.”