• message from the superintendent

  • Instructional Calendar Changes and Budget Challenges

    Posted by Douglas Killian, Ph.D. on 2/27/2024 3:00:00 PM

    Dear CFISD Community:

    February is zooming by, so I wanted to thank all the students, staff, and community that I have had the honor and pleasure to meet. What a wonderful community we are blessed to be a part of.

    Instructional Calendar

    I appreciate the efforts of the Instructional Calendar Committee and value the feedback from parents and the community, to create a 2024-2025 instructional calendar. I realize that moving away from a later start date (with no District of Innovation, orDOI, status) and fewer instructional days than most districts around us was going to create some opportunities and some challenges for us. Additionally, I want to apologize for its rapid development and delayed approval. The DOI approval in January pushed the development of the calendar to February. Working under a tight timeline, the Instructional Calendar Committee worked to expedite a calendar to the Board. The Board then listened to the community and made some adjustments. The changes generated mixed reactions in the community, as creating a universally approved calendar can be difficult with competing interests and needs. We are committed to starting the calendar development process earlier next year, so we have more time to share and take input. Thank you for giving grace as we transition leadership amid the DOI process.

    Budget Planning

    As many of you are aware, CFISD has not received an increase in funding since 2019, and we have had to adopt deficit budgets over the past few years. Thankfully, we have been rescued from ending the year in deficit by utilizing the federal ESSER funds to pay for more items than we expected, in addition to some internal savings, and not filling all of the budgeted positions. The latter is both a blessing and a curse. We appreciate not spending the personnel funds to balance the budget, but it creates a hardship for staff and students when positions we need go unfilled.

    This school year, we will expend the last of the three years of ESSER funding and again use a combination of those federal relief funds and unfilled positions to potentially end this budget year balanced and hopefully in a surplus. Next year, we will not have the ESSER funds to help balance the budget. We recommend that any surplus at the end of this fiscal year be designated to help us address a budget shortfall for the 2024-2025 school year. After this action, only budget cuts and revenue-generating ideas will balance the budget. CFISD is a very efficiently staffed district with economies of scale and an additional Local Optional Homestead Exemption (LOHE), proudly providing additional savings to our taxpayers. It is unfortunate we find ourselves in this challenging budget situation.

    CFISD continues to be innovative with its programs and fiscally responsible with its expenditures. We have a great community and staff. So, we are asking for your input and help in identifying ways to generate revenue for the district and cut any waste you may believe exists so we can maintain the exceptional programs and people that make our district great. There are always unanticipated consequences to recommendations, and we will evaluate all of the ideas to see what can be implemented and with the least impact on the exceptionalness of the students, staff and district.

    Please remember we are experiencing trying staffing times as well. Just as the private sector has had to increase salaries to attract and maintain a scarce workforce, educational institutions face similar challenges. Implementing a 1% pay increase across the system costs more than $9 million. Not only are we competing for exceptional teachers, but our needs include nurses, counselors, plumbers, electricians, CDL drivers and so many more. If you or a friend would like to join our fantastic team, we would love for you to apply for a job. Help us in Bringing Out the Best in our community, students and district!

    In the best interest of children,

    Douglas Killian, Ph.D.
    Proud to serve as CFISD Superintendent.

    Comments (-1)
  • Preparing for Inclement Weather

    Posted by Doug Killian, Ph.D. on 1/12/2024 10:55:00 AM

    Dear CFISD Community,

    As many of you are aware, we have some extremely cold weather moving into the area this weekend. I take weather calls very seriously; there are three decisions I don’t enjoy in my role:

    • boundary changes;
    • weather calls; and
    • budget cuts.

    As such, I rely on a multitude of information and a lot of preparation. CFISD has detailed procedures in place for potential cancellations that will assist my decision-making process to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Here is a brief overview of what that entails.

    1. We have been watching models and receiving weather updates from local weather experts since last weekend. The latest model suggests the arctic blast may arrive Saturday night—so please have your personal prep done a little sooner, just in case.

    2. As a reminder, Monday, Jan.15 is a CFISD holiday. Leadership has reviewed all possibilities for Tuesday, Jan.16, when we are set to return. We have a plan to check the roads personally. I can tell you that if the weather is not certain, several team members and I will be up late at night and early in the morning to assess that road conditions are safe for staff to arrive as well as to transport students. While weather stations report general area conditions, there is nothing like having eyes on the ground to see what is really going on in our community. I plan to drive the roads, as I have been doing since I was in little Poteet ISD (approximately 1,600 students). I am happy to say that police, transportation, and operations staff personally checking the roads is a practice here, too, because we love our staff and kids.

    3. Some think we should close schools “just in case,” or say that we don’t make the call early enough, or they need us to open for a variety of reasons. Many of our families rely on us for more than just education; it’s also childcare so they may go to work, or perhaps the warmth and food our schools provide. So, closing “just in case” can hurt people, too, when it’s not founded.

    4. We also know staffing a campus properly is critical to a successful school day. Some of our folks travel from surrounding districts, so a neighboring district closing can impact our staffing ability when they do not have childcare.

    Finally, CFISD utilizes SchoolMessenger as the district’s mass notification system for campus and district emergencies (such as school closures related to weather). Emergency communication may be by email, phone call or text message.  It is critical that you update your contact information at your child(ren)’s campus when you have changes.  Additionally, to opt in to receive text messages from CFISD, please text to 67587 from your cell phone. Parents are also encouraged to monitor the district website (www.cfisd.net), social media, and television or radio stations.

    Please know that I will be in constant communication with local meteorologists and other school district superintendents.  I care deeply about each and every one of you and will be watching and stressing over making the right decision.

    In the best interest of children,

    Doug Killian, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)