I don’t want to bury the lead for this post: DISD’s prospective cuts, by individual school, were identified in a DISD document discussed last night on WFAA-TV. The DMN also offers its take on the list of cuts.
More on all of that in a few sentences.
As of right now, the whole public school funding fiasco in Texas is a story without any real facts — no one, including the Texas legislators who ultimately will decide how much money local school districts have to spend for the next couple of years, have any real idea what and when they will ultimately decide. All we know is that the state is billions in debt, and education funding is one of the biggest bags of money the legislators can partially unload to pay for other expenses that legislators don’t want to derail.
But the uncertainty in Austin isn’t keeping Dallas parents, educators and school district administrators from worrying, though, and who came blame them/us? When you’re talking about cutting DISD’s $1.2 billion budget by $200 million or more, you’re talking about some pretty serious cuts, no matter who ultimately gets the axe in the back of the head. Some of the ideas floating about: Cutting about 4,000 campus jobs, raising student/teacher class ratios at the high school level to 35:1 from the current 22:1 (look for the same relative changes in middle schools and elementary schools, too), reducing maintenance. Just about everything is on the table, district officials say.
None of this is DISD’s fault, nor the fault of any other Texas school district. But that doesn’t make pruning a budget by 15-20 percent any easier, particularly a highly political budget and particularly since legislators may not decide the actual amount of cuts until about the same time late this spring as school boards throughout the state are legally required to implement budgets.
So we’re seeing growing hysterics among some parents, who don’t know what to expect for their kids, and from some school district employees, who don’t know if they’re on the chopping block or not.
WFAA’s post sheds some light on DISD’s current, theoretical thought process. Check out the PDF of potential staff cuts to see for yourself, but here are a few excerpts (every school is on the list, but we can’t obviously list them all here). Remember: Everything on this list is simply one of many budget scenarios DISD is required to begin considering, and no decisions have been made by the school board yet because state legislators haven’t decided how much money local school districts will have to cut:
Woodrow Wilson High School currently has 137.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees; after the cuts, the school would lose 39.5 FTEs, or about 28 percent of campus employees.
J.L. Long Middle School: Currently 109.1 FTEs, after the cuts 81.1.
Lakewood Elementary: 55.9 FTEs to 53.9. Stonewall Jackson: 47.9 to 46.9; Lee: 35.5 to 31; Hexter: 52.4 to 47.4.
The cuts are even more dramatic at some of DISD’s TAG and magnet schools: Booker T. Washington, 89 FTEs to 47; Townview Magnet, 149.7 to 30.2 (yes, that is about an 80 percent reduction).
There aren’t going to be any winners in this process, no matter how much money eventually is cut from campuses, administrators and wherever else a knife can be wedged in DISD. In fact, I suspect there will be quite a few knives being wedged into quite a few places, public and private, in the weeks ahead.
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