Coppell ISD facing $9.67 million deficit in budget, concerns for data safety


Nandini Paidesetty

Members of the Bond Committee stand to be approved as part of the bond program at Monday’s Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting at the Vonita White Administration Building. This committee includes a variety of CISD teachers, students, administration and members of the community.

Angelina Liu, Editor-in-chief

In Monday’s Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting, palpable frustration was expressed by several members of the board  over the deficit in the district’s fiscal spending budget for the 2022-23 school year. 

“Revenue per student is fixed by state funding formulas,” chief financial officer Diana Sircar said. “It does not change when our property values increase. Even though the district may be bringing in additional tax revenue, if it is in excess of the calculated entitlement, it goes back to the state in the form of recapture.” 

Recapture has increased due to COVID-19 and the gap continues to widen due to inflation. According to Sircar, inflation has increased 9.1 percent in the past year and has outpaced the increase in funding that was granted by House Bill 3. The main cost concerns are food and fuel and impacts of price and the availability of products due to supply chain issues.

On July 14, the state comptroller announced an increase in the state surplus of $26.9 billion. After this announcement by Sircar, trustee Nichole Bentley turned to look at trustee Manish Sethi in shock.

“I didn’t mean to giggle when you were talking,” Bentley said. “But when you said $26.9 billion surplus, it almost brings me to tears with frustration.” 

According to trustee Tracy Fisher, the money that is being taken away from Coppell ISD in the form of Robin Hood is approaching 30 percent of total revenue. The 2021-2022 fiscal budget saw a recapture of 23.5 percent, showing a staggering 6.5 percent increase in recapture rate in 2022-23. 

“We know the money’s there,” Sethi said. “They cannot say they do not have the money to support our teachers.”

According to Sircar, the federal funding allocated for Coppell ISD is meant to combat the impact of COVID, not to support normal operating costs. The federal funding has been plentiful for other districts across Texas, however has been limited for Coppell ISD while other districts are using the funding to plug their deficit. 

The board moved to pass the budget, 7-0, which had a $2.67 million increase in deficit compared to the budget for the 2020-21 school year. 

According to the press release on the budget and tax rate, recapture makes up 26.09 percent of CISD’s budget expenditures which equates to more than $46 million to be returned to the state. CISD has paid $703 million in recapture since 1992.

In the open forum, three CISD parents expressed their concerns and support for Panorama, a data collection system which partners with school districts in order to learn more about student’s social emotional learning, family life and more.  

Coppell parents Kelly Fishpaw and Oriz Subramaniam asked for better data security when using Panorama. 

“How could this data about our kid’s mental health be used in an unintended way?” Fishpaw said. “Who protects the student?” 

Speaker Wes Atwood called for the elimination of Panorama entirely, citing poison in the system and threatening a Texas Education Agency grievance. 

Several renovations were made over the summer, including new dressing rooms at the Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex and accessibility accommodations made on the Coppell High School campus.

Follow @angelinaliiu and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter