The DISD Board of Trustees voted Thursday night to close 10 elementary schools, including James B. Bonham. Bonham holds the highest possible Texas Education Agency rating of exemplary. It also is one of the district’s four blue-ribbon schools.

Bonham is closing because, even though it does a great job of educating students, it does so inefficiently. Bonham serves 22 students for every one teacher. Even though a 1:22 teacher-student ratio technically is the school district’s standard, most schools operate on a ratio of 1:27 or greater.

Out of 230 schools in DISD, 33 are rated unacceptable by the TEA. That’s more than 14 percent. But none of those unacceptable schools will close under this money-saving plan because they receive federal funding that would be lost if the schools were to close. All 10 elementary schools slated to close are rated at least acceptable by the TEA, and all of them are closing for the same reason: inefficiency.

The district will save $11.5 million closing the 10 elementary schools and one middle school, Pearl C. Anderson. James W. Fannin Elementary School on Fitzhugh is the other neighborhood school that will close under the plan.

The board of trustees also voted to extend the DISD teacher workday by an uncompensated 45 minutes. No one in the school district will receive pay increases next year. The school district does plan to spend $400,000 to reinstate seventh-grade athletics.

The board must cut about $38 million from its 2012-13 budget, which totals about $1 .1 billion.


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