Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has warned us recently of ominous possible consequences of not going with his plan to fix the current budget crisis. "We have people watching us: We have the ratings agencies watching us, the Texas Education Agency. We have to deal with it. If we don’t, we may not have that opportunity next week. … This is a very serious situation." he is quoted as saying in this piece in the Observer’s UnFair Park Blog yesterday. Now the DMN’s DISD blog reports that the director of the TEA has warned that they might step in and seize control of the District’s finances if they don’t do something quickly. They also note that they can do so without the approval of the Board. So what is up with that?

Now I’m really confused and beginning to think we have an iceberg here…most of it lurking ominously below the surface. Why would  the TEA be so quick to step in to a situation where the Board and the Administration are actively trying to come to a resolution to a problem that, supposedly, we only discovered a couple of weeks ago? Is the solvency of the DISD threatened short term? I know you can’t go on forever running a deficit, but I have not heard of insolvency as an immediate problem. Even Hinojosa seems to think we can continue at current expenditures until the end of the year.

What does the TEA want? Balance the budget at all costs and do it immediately? Forget about losing hundreds of teachers and the effect that will have in the classrooms? An odd attitude from the Texas EDUCATION Agency, if that’s it. Or would they insist that the teachers be preserved and the classroom gains be maintained, thinking that there are other ways to balance the budget? How would their intervention help that? They bringing the money to town with them? Or, most disturbing of all, have they already sided with the Administration and are rattling their sabers on their behalf?

Until now, this has been a local issue. If TEA thinks they have a dog in this fight right now, I would like to hear an explanation of why they think so. Otherwise, it might be time for our Dallas contingent to the State House to have a talk with the TEA.

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