School Board considers alternate solutions to budget crisis


Srihari Yechangunja

The School Board met on Monday to discuss concerns the public may have including the proposed closure of New Tech High @ Coppell and cuts to the G/T and IB programs. For the first time, an awards readout session also took place.

Anjali Vishwanath, Staff Writer

Monday evening’s School Board meeting was centered around finding alternate solutions to Coppell ISD’s $7.2 million budget deficit.

The open forum was dominated by two concerns: proposed cuts to the Gifted and Talented and IB Diploma programs and the proposed closure of New Tech High @ Coppell.

The proposed cuts and closures are being considered in light of the budget deficit in CISD. While there had been budget issues last year, COVID-19 worsened conditions in the district, inciting the $7.2 million deficit. Five of the seven open forum presenters during the meeting stood up to defend New Tech High @ Coppell, hoping to prevent its closure.

“I reached out to my department head to see what she thought about why I was graduating on time with the highest GPA,” 2016 New Tech graduate Victoria Rap said. “This is what she had to say, ‘New Tech High School provided Victoria with the kind of critical thinking, problem solving skills, and student autonomy that we spend four years of college trying to teach our students.’”

The bond projects report contained updates on district renovation projects. Projects varied in scale from the widespread renovation and accessibility upgrades to Coppell High School to the renovation of Lesley Field at the Coppell High School Ninth Grade Campus.

“I picked specific areas of the Panorama data, and these are some simple pieces that we’re showing this evening,” Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Angie Applegate said. “These are going to be some important pieces for our community-based accountability system.”

Dr. Applegate presented the data from October’s district-issued Panorama survey, which was taken by students, staff and CISD families. Her analysis concluded that students were adjusting to the part virtual, part in-person format of school, but had some concerns about using Zoom and Schoology every day.

The responses from families were also mostly positive, with a majority of parents responding that they are pleased with their level of involvement with the district. Staff responses detailed some issues with Zoom and Schoology, but revealed they were largely well-adapted to teaching in a blended fashion.

These surveys, along with the district push towards Bulb reflections, are part of a new community-based accountability system. The hope is that issues will be resolved more efficiently with increased feedback and reflection on the part of students, staff and families.

The addition of the Innovation Career and Technical Education Course was proposed and approved by the board. The new course will have industry connections, and aims to provide students with soft skills and vocational training.

The board also approved a resolution to continue adjusted sick leave into the new year. This allows for staff members to take sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons, such as a mandatory quarantine being imposed on them or their families.

Monday’s meeting also recognized three CISD groups on their recent achievements. The Sidekick and KCBY have each been awarded a National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker award and the CHS Cowboys Varsity Cross Country team placed fifth in state.

Follow Anjali (@viola_swan) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.