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Legislative Inaction Forces Budget Cuts in Crowley ISD


  • The state's $32.7 billion budget surplus is the result of a local property tax surplus, and $0 was allocated to increase the basic allotment for students.
  • No increase to basic allotment since 2019
  • Inflation rate of 19% since 2019
  • 44 states fund based on enrollment, Texas is 1 of 6 to fund based on attendance.
  • Since 2019, the student population has steadily increased from 15,728 to 16,729 (+1,001).
  • Since 2019, the basic allotment of $6,160 has not increased, while the cost of education continues to increase.
  • Since 2019, we are educating 1,942 more school-dependent children than before the pandemic.
  • Last year, there was a 1,912-student difference between ADA of 14,816 and enrollment of 16,729.
  • The lack of funding based on enrollment cost CISD between $11.78 million and $19.07 million.

March 7, 2024

Like all Texas public school districts, Crowley ISD is facing a legislative-created structural deficit from the Legislature's failure to increase funding despite a $32.7 billion budget surplus and an inflation rate that has spiked to 19% since 2019.

While committed to high-quality instruction and experiences for students, Crowley ISD will need to dive deeper into cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures to protect its financial health.

Superintendent Dr. Michael McFarland assured trustees at their meeting Thursday night that the focus during this process will be to protect what happens in the classroom first, while also striving to treat the staff of Crowley ISD with "courtesy, dignity, respect and professionalism." However, with about 85% of the CISD budget allocated for staffing, people will likely be impacted, he said.

"The challenges we're going to talk about tonight are challenges that were not necessarily created by us but are challenges that we're willing to face," McFarland said. "We're not here to complain. We're going to deal with it."

McFarland and Chief Financial Officer Leon Fisher detailed the strategies the district already has implemented and will implement to mitigate the current fiscal crisis Texas public schools are facing.

The district has already instituted a discretionary spending freeze, a hiring freeze on all vacant positions and recoded certain personnel and expenditures to be funded through external grants. The district also plans to reduce stipend allocations, refine staffing guidelines and reorganize the Central Office.

The district and campuses will also evaluate expenses with a Budget Reduction Decision Matrix that looks at the impact cuts might have on items such as student achievement, teachers and staff and plans set forth in Vision 2025. The district and campuses will also look at other revenue sources, such as grants.

"This is real," McFarland said. "It impacts people. It impacts lives. it impacts livelihoods, and we are being strategic in how we approach it."

"We want to make sure we don’t cut things that we value. We want to prioritize those things that we value, and then we will figure out how to be more efficient and effective at providing high-quality instruction," McFarland said.

In addition to the recent legislative inaction, Texas also is one of a handful of states nationwide that bases funding on attendance instead of enrollment, which creates budgeting challenges for districts that must be prepared for the number of students enrolled.

In 2023, if the state funded Crowley ISD based on enrollment instead of attendance, the district could have received anywhere from $11.7 million to $19 million in additional funding.

District leaders also reiterated that the voter-approved $1.04 billion pond passed in May 2023 cannot be used to help offset the budget shortfall because of the restrictions placed on how that money can be used. For example, it cannot be used to help pay for teacher salaries.

Further budget conversations will happen after Spring Break, including with the community. The community is also invited to take the district's Budget Survey to help CISD better understand what the community prioritizes.

View the full Budget Presentation.

Take the Budget Survey.