Board states closing New Tech, cutting IB last on list of budget options


Blanche Harris

New Tech High @ Coppell seniors Sydney Kutz, Emily Reynolds, Megan Chambless and Autumn Kranz protest against closing the school on Monday night during the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustees declared closing NTH@Coppell and cutting the International Baccalaureate program at Coppell High School would be their last resort choices to offset the deficit.

Shreya Beldona, Executive enterprise editor

As tears began to swell in her eyes, Angela Milligan, mother of current New Tech High @ Coppell senior Michaela Milligan and 2019 Coppell High School graduate Emily Milligan, made a dramatic opening to the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting, sharing a cautionary tale about New Tech High @ Coppell and CHS. 

After hearing that NTH@C could potentially close to offset the deficit, Mrs. Milligan was prompted to speak. 

“As a senior, [Emily had] to write a letter to her ninth grade self and she wrote, ‘Dear ninth grade self, go to New Tech. Do not go to CHS. Everything you went to CHS for will be gone by the time you are a senior,’” said Mrs. Milligan, her voice starting to tremble. “And as her mother, it kinda broke my heart.” 

Another proposed form of cutting expenditures was eliminating the International Baccalaureate program at CHS, which CHS IB junior Sharan Sethi urged against. Sharan’s father, Manish Sethi, holds Place 2 on the CISD Board of Trustees.

“One of the basic mottos in IB is to question everything,” Sethi said. “I’m able to question the topics I’m learning about without any hesitation. This has had a very positive impact on my learning experience.” 

After hearing the speakers’ objection to cutting the IB program and closing NTH@Coppell, the Board of Trustees was adamant about making these last resort choices. 

‘Dear ninth grade self, go to New Tech. Do not go to CHS. Everything you went to CHS for will be gone by the time you are a senior,’

— Angela Milligan

To reduce the deficit, CISD chief financial officer Diana Sircar said the district would have to either increase district revenue by 4.7% or decrease spending by 5.7%. 

The Board of Trustees also brought up maintaining a proper fund balance, which is money allocated towards future spending until revenue is received based on a designated time period. The fund balance can also act as a protective measure in the case of immediate spending due to emergency events. 

Due to the board requirement of at least two months worth of operations in fund balance, CISD would need to have, at a minimum, $31.4 million in savings. 

To place the needs of CISD faculty and residents at the forefront while navigating budget cuts, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Dr. Angie Applegate spoke about the creation of a vision committee, composed of 35-40 staff members from all campuses and departments. The committee is set to meet tomorrow, next Wednesday and Feb. 17. 

Coppell residents submitted their ideas to the budget feedback form, which was available Jan. 8-15, and input emails sent to [email protected]. In total, there were 449 responses regarding proposed budget cuts from the input email and form. 

The Board of Trustees discussed many other ways to reduce the deficit including maximizing staffing efficiency, reducing the athletics and fine arts budget, expanding open enrollment, Pay to Play, Pay to Ride and Pay for Pre-K. 

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

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