Cy-Fair ISD to Reduce Librarian Staff Amid Tight Budget Situation

The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District is planning to reduce its librarian workforce by half next year as part of cost-cutting measures, following the trend of other Houston-area districts.

With a projected $138 million budget shortfall for the 2024-25 school year, the district, the second largest in the Houston area, aims to eliminate around 670 staff positions, including 50 librarians.

If the plan is implemented, the district will be left with only 42 librarians serving 117,000 students across 88 schools.

While the school board has yet to vote on the proposed changes, a district spokesperson confirmed the intentions to the Landing on Monday. The final budget adoption deadline is the end of June.

“Given that nearly 90 percent of the budget goes toward personnel costs, staff reductions are unavoidable,” stated district spokesperson Leslie Francis.

Librarians in Texas school districts have been facing reductions as districts seek to streamline expenses.

Over the past year, several of the state’s largest districts, including Houston, San Antonio, Spring Branch, and Cypress-Fairbanks, have either announced plans to cut librarian positions or have already done so.

Without significant increases in public school funding during the 2023 legislative session, Texas districts are grappling with financial challenges, exacerbated by rising costs and the expiration of pandemic relief funds.

Tara Cummings, a parent with children in two Cy-Fair schools, expressed concern over the district’s budget-saving measures, fearing the impact on the educational experience.

While understanding the need for cuts, Cummings directed frustration towards state lawmakers for not adequately funding public education.

A Cy-Fair spokesperson did not provide details on the librarian reassignment plan across the 88 schools.

Superintendent Douglas Killian formed a committee to advise on budget reductions and seek community input.

New Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District superintendent Douglas Killian gives his statement on the decision in Cypress (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Landing)

However, the committee did not propose librarian cuts in its recommendations presented at an April board meeting. Board president Scott Henry did not respond to inquiries.

Recent talks in budget workshops revealed plans to cover $70 million of the deficit using the fund balance, with the remainder from staff reductions and other cost-saving measures.

In the 2022-23 school year, Cy-Fair librarians earned annual salaries ranging from $64,000 to $97,000 based on state data.

Cummings expressed concerns over the proposed cuts, acknowledging the difficult decisions ahead and their impact on staff and students.

In an email to a community member, Superintendent Killian indicated that the librarian reductions are just the beginning of broader cost-saving measures.

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