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Overcoming Obstacles

Message from Board President Patsy Mendoza - June 29

Posted on 06/30/2023

Dear Canutillo Familia,

One of the most important roles we have as elected members of the Board of Trustees is to adopt the budget for the District. Over the last 10 years, the District has been a careful steward of this trust with public funds and our efforts have resulted in successful budgeting seasons that created balanced books and got us closer and closer to our goal of having an unprecedented 90-day supply in our fund balance, which is our rainy-day fund. In fact, our budgets have been so successful, that our credit score is among the highest in the state and our financial services department has earned a myriad of awards and recognitions. 

Unfortunately, this year our outlook is not as positive. On Monday, the Board was forced to adopt a budget that has built into it a deficit of $3 million. This budget already has in it intense cuts to costs by the administration including travel, hospitality and even some unfilled personnel positions. As Dr. Galaviz said in his weekly podcast, this upcoming school year will be one of penny pinching for us, but we will do our best to make sure that our students and our educational programming are not impacted. 

So what got us here? That’s a difficult question to answer, but one that must be explained. 

I must say first that the District would not be in this situation if the Texas Legislature would have acted on the many proposals to use surplus funding to help school districts. Texas had a surplus of more than $30 billion and school districts were certain that at least part of that money would trickle down to us. Unfortunately, a push by Republican legislators to create a voucher system that would further deplete funding for public schools derailed any effort to have school funding legislation passed. You can read more about it here

Canutillo ISD, like many school districts in Texas, approved a teacher salary package that raised pay by 5 percent with the understanding that lawmakers would help us fund education this year. I think I speak on behalf of all CISD trustees when I say that we don’t regret our vote to compensate our teachers and employees for the work they do. The vote was the right thing to do. However, it is disappointing that because of politics at the state level, we are now facing cuts and tough decisions in our budget. 

It’s also important to note that Canutillo ISD has been a leader in opposing legislation aimed at defunding public education. When state lawmakers pushed legislation that would shift taxpayer money from public education to private schools in the form of vouchers, our District was among the first in the region to come out in opposition. (Read more about it here). It is important for us to show that we will not allow the fleecing of our schools as part of political agendas. 

The administration and the Board have made a vow to offset the deficit in the budget. Like I mentioned earlier, we have already cut things like travel and hospitality, and will look for other efficiencies throughout the year. We ask that you be patient with us as a District as we maneuver through this difficult time. We are gathering ideas and finding innovative alternatives to find revenue, including increasing our enrollment by going after some of the students who live in Canutillo ISD but attend school elsewhere. Know that we are taking this matter seriously and that we will work with all stakeholders to continue to promote public education and move further along in our effort to be the best option for our families. 

The District is going on a scheduled break for the summer next week. I wish our administration a restful vacation. We are going to need you full of energy to tackle the upcoming school year. 

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July! 

¡Un fuerte abrazo!

Patsy Mendoza
Canutillo ISD
Board of Trustees