Citizens take to open forum to discuss district budget deficit


Blanche Harris

The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees reviewed the district’s current $7 million budget deficit on Monday night. The meeting allowed citizens to raise concerns and further conversation about how to address this deficit.

Akhila Gunturu, CHS9 Editor

Monday evening’s Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting was marked by citizens voicing concerns about the potential academic program eliminations posed by the district’s $7.2 million budget deficit

On the Dec. 7 special board meeting, the board discussed options to alleviate the budget deficit, including the elimination of the International Baccalaureate program at Coppell High School, New Tech High @ Coppell and cuts to the Gifted and Talented program. Citizens took to the open forum to discuss these potential options at the last board meeting, and have continued in this meeting. 

“I am here speaking not only on behalf of a few hundred students, but a community that has done everything they can to help students who study differently,” New Tech sophomore Samantha Saenz said. “How do you put a number on the success and impact [New Tech] has had on its alumni and students? How do you put a price on how my life changed?”

Others voiced concerns for possible cuts to the GT program. 

“Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, removing vital services from students just to save money is frankly unconscionable,” Coppell resident and Autism Interventional Professional Cathy Polakoff said. 

Following this, an update was given on the GT program in CISD by executive director of teaching and learning Dr. Deana Dynis. 

15 percent of students in the district are in the GT program, and current service models across elementary and secondary campuses are iterative. Prior to COVID-19, students were identified as GT through a variety of tests to meet their needs. The current GT identification assessment and eligibility requirements are based on standardized assessment data and educator input. 

A motion passed 6-0 for the addition of more Innovative Career and Technical courses at CHS. These courses include kinesiology I, which allows students to dive into the exercise and wellness program of study, an extension to the sports and entertainment marketing course. This makes the course a full-year course instead of a half-year course and a single-blocked marketing course that is currently under development. 

Several student and educator achievements were also honored on Monday’s board meeting. 2020-21 Campus teachers of the year were honored for their contributions to the district and its students, and the Board of Trustees was honored through a video for School Board Recognition Month. The 2019-20 staff of KCBY-TV were congratulated for winning nine Lone Star Emmy awards in December, and the CHS Varsity Marching Band were honored for winning eighth place at the UIL Class 6A State Marching Band Contest. 

The full-length recording of the meeting can be found here

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