U.S. Government Shutdown and the Impact on CFISD

January 29, 2019

While the recent government shutdown — the longest in the United States’ history — has come to an end, the budget passed only funds the government for three weeks, with no compromise in sight. With no annual budget passed, many organizations and citizens whom rely on federal agencies and federal funding are left waiting until the government passes a budget for the year. But, how does this shutdown effect local subsidized institutions, such as the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District?

Well, true to their name, CFISD are an independent entity from the Texas government or any local government, but they do receive partial funding from both the Texas and U.S. government. Looking at CFISD’s financial report for the 2018-19 adopted budget, we can see that while the district gets funding from the Federal government, Federal revenue — in addition to outside sources — account for only 0.8% of the district’s annual revenue.

So why is CFISD getting money from the federal government, and what constitutes how much? In addition to a few federal grants, as a public school district, CFISD primarily receives money from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program — a program that regulates school lunches in public schools and subsidizes lunches for low-income students who purchase the district’s reduced price meals. This is also the reason why there’s a long disclaimer at the bottom of the lunch menu, as programs funded in any way by the USDA are prohibited from discriminating in accordance with federal law.

But while the USDA is not receiving federal funds currently, the lunch programs will continue to serve students, as the state agencies have been funded through March.

“Regarding the federal lunch program, we have received notice from USDA that the funds to carry us into March have been distributed to state agencies,” CFISD Chief of Staff, Teresa Hull, told us. “As such, the earliest we would see impact is in late April. Any meals we serve will ultimately have to reimbursed when the shutdown ends, however, we could see payment delays.”

However, if the federal government shutdown extends through the end of the school day, CFISD could run into difficulties due to their reliance on federal funding during the summer season.

“During the summer, our programs are nearly 100% federally reimbursed,” Hull says. “As such, summer operations will be a challenge if the shutdown continues.”

So, while the federal government may be currently shut down with many federal workers furloughed, school will still continue as normal till the end of the school year. And yes, this means you still have to go to school.