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Crosby ISD needs crystal ball for 2021

The Crosby ISD Board of Trustees met partially virtually and partially live last Monday night. They heard from a citizen concerning preparations for COVID -19 in the next school year, and conducted a hearing on the proposed budget. The Superintendent outlined the many dimensions of problems preparing for the next year.

CROSBY – No matter what opinion concerning COVID-19 one harbors, making rules and predicting how things will be six months from now is impossible under current conditions.

Crosby ISD held their annual public hearing on the budget last Monday. Under normal conditions it is a tight budget reflecting dramatic growth, new specifications from the state, new taxing legislation from House Bill 3, and the slight over tax (taxed more money than budgeted for due to growth) from last year. In this case, the meeting was held under partially virtual, partially live circumstance concerning projections from last year before the COVID-19 outbreak and as if next year values and projections will remain constant.

Will values change? Will mortgages remain constant and residents not default? Will building continue? These are uncertain times.

Superintendent Scott Davis reported on the amount of guess work necessary to prepare for the next school year.

“Someone said that getting the school ready for next year is like walking through a mine field; it isn’t. It’s like a lava field, where the mine field is mild,” he said.

The Superintendent did predict that requiring wearing masks would almost certainly be required. Davis indicated that his top priority is the health of students.

“Opinions are divided between those that believe COVID-19 is a total hoax and those that believe we are in a battle for our lives. We are going to have to find a middle ground.”

One issue is: should school continue on-line or “let’s go” meaning return to attending school.

Awaiting T.E.A. guidelines isn’t likely to give the school time to react before enactment of any decision must be done. The state can be in no hurry to make decisions for every district when the situation is so different in every school.

Davis’s report was partially based upon a survey by the school reflecting that about just over half of teachers and about half of parents are of “let’s go” opinion.

Transportation alone presents unprecedented problems. Projections of allowing only 12 students per bus would however more than double the amount of bus routes required and there are 57 routes currently inside Crosby ISD.

Some 74% of parents indicated they could take their kids to school but 26% indicated they could not.

All of this is without considering extracurricular activities such as athletics. What to do about football and baseball has stumped the professionals.

Extra meetings concerning what to do in Crosby is a certainty.

Submitted, as published in this paper on June 11, the tax rate is to be $1.05470 per $100 valuation plus $0.35116 per $100 valuation. Later this year, probably September, the board will vote on whether or not to adopt the new budget that for now is a 4.17% increase in the maintenance and operations and the debt service 0.05 increase for a total expenditure increase of 3.6%.