KINGSVILLE, Texas — Dr. Cissy Reynolds Perez says she knew Kingsville ISD was having financial and academic issues before she became the District's superintendant.
She's from Kingsville.
And soon after she took the position last August, right in the middle of the pandemic, she asked the Texas Association of School Business Officials to do an audit a financial analysis of the district.
The audit revealed the District is facing bankruptcy. "If we stay down this road, yeah. We cannot afford to lose money every year. We just can not."
According to this article in today's Kingsville Record newspaper, the District's annual operating budget is slightly more than $36 million dollars, but they were already facing a deficit of $4-and-a-half million dollars when the school year started.
Most of that was due to declining student enrollment. Perez says enrollment in KISD this school year was down 204 students. That means less state funding per student.
School buildings in need of maintenance. The loss of $1-point-6 million dollars in tax revenue lost due to declining property appraisal values.
Perez addressed the declining enrollment, saying "I think when there's lack of confidence in the leadership, people tend to flea. And what was happening was students fled. Parents were taking their students to neighboring Districts."
Perez claims she's already been able to cut more $2 million dollars from the deficit by finding available grant money not being utilized or allocated by the District.
But more needs to be done, and Perez is adamant that it wont mean layoffs or job cuts. "The way we're going to reduce staffing will be thru attrition."
By her definition, that means not replacing staff and faculty who resign or retire, unless there is a need in that particular area of the District.
Among other recommendations from the Texas Association of School Business Officials, possibly closing Harrel or Kleberg Elementary school, and sending certain grade level students to different schools in the District to better utilize the facilities.
"You don't ever want to be known as the District that gets taken over by the TEA because you're not managingng finances appropriately."