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DISD Budget Reduction Plan Cuts 3,900 Jobs

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A student writes during a school lesson on September 4, 2003. (credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

A student writes during a school lesson on September 4, 2003. (credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Faced with the likelihood of a massive shortfall in state education funding, Dallas Independent School District leaders are planning to eliminate 3,900 jobs.

The initial statewide budget plan from state legislators cuts Texas education funding by $9.3 billion. Based on that, the DISD expects a $250 million reduction in its funding from the state.

That’s about a quarter of the district’s annual budget.

District planners said 3,100 of the job cuts would be campus-based.  3,000 would be teachers.

DISD employs about 11,000 teachers right now.

The additional 800 jobs cut would be from non-campus positions.

“It’s inevitable,” said DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “We’re going to have personnel cuts. It just depends how deep the cut is.”

This plan does not include closing any schools. But class sizes at middle and high schools would increase sharply.

Parent Amy Tate says she and other parents don’t want to see the one-on-one attention struggling students get disappear, allowing them fall through the cracks. “I think it’s a huge number that’s going to impact everyone whether your kids are at DISD or not because when we have children underserved that makes the community feel it.”

Teachers say the cuts will damage the quality of education it the classrooms.  “The bottom line is what’s going to happen to our students,” said Angela Davis, of the teachers’ union NEA Dallas.

Eleventh-year World History teacher David Lee sees his job as a calling, but as one of the 3,100 teachers who could lose their jobs, David is worried more for his colleagues than himself.  “I think about the families that are going to be impacted. I think about my friend who made wedding plans for this summer and whether or not he’ll still be able to do that. I think about some of the teachers who are a little older than me who are putting their children through college.”

The state budget has not been finalized, so the dollar amounts in question could change. At the annual State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry said Texas, despite facing a $27 billion shortfall, is not “facing a budget Armageddon.”
“Texans don’t believe it, and they shouldn’t because it’s untrue,” Perry said.

A spokeswoman for Perry promised Thursday to put forth a budget “at the end of the day” that will keep certain public services.

“Gov. Perry recognizes there are tough decisions before lawmakers as they begin the budget process, and voters have made it clear they expect their government to live within its means,” said Catherine Frazier, Deputy Press Secretary for the Office of the Governor. “We’re at the early stages of the budget process and at the end of the day, we’ll have a balanced budget that protects essential services without raising taxes.”

Parents and teachers both say before the cuts process begins, that they will be talking with DISD board members and state legislators, expressing concerns on how individual schools would be impacted.

Austin York reports for CBSDFW.com

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