Arlington ISD Considering Deep Budget Cuts

By Robbie Owens, CBS 11 News

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – After officials with the Dallas Independent School District proposed deep budget cuts last week – including reductions to teacher salaries – another North Texas school district is again talking about dramatic ways to lower their spending. The Arlington Independent School District wants to hear from taxpayers about how and where they should cut their budget.

Officials in Arlington are expecting a $35 million drop in state funding. When combined with an existing $13 million deficit, there is $48 million that needs to be erased from school spending.

Superintendent Jerry McCullough and the Arlington ISD school board are considering several options for removing this money from the budget. Teachers with less than three years on the job could face layoffs. In all, roughly 132 teacher positions are expected to be eliminated.

McCullough called the state funding cuts “devastating.” He sent out a message to the community. “There are difficult times in the history of all organizations, and this is one of those times for the AISD and school districts around the state,” McCullough said. “We may be doing business differently in the future than we are right now. But, my staff and I are working to ensure that AISD gets through any future reductions and continues to provide more than a remarkable education for our students.”

According to Arlington school officials, an outside consulting firm has been called to the district to conduct a “cost containment study” that will identify any other possible savings.

Arlington ISD and Dallas ISD are not likely to be the only school districts across the state to consider deep budget cuts. Funding was decreased across the entire state. Public education makes up about 44 percent of the state budget.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Shaun says:

    Stop spending our money on wining and dining illegals and I promise you that it would save us Millions in Education. Also, if we would have State Evaluations on our teachers and those that are not cutting it, get rid of them. I know for a fact that there are teachers in the school system that should of never been hired to teach our kids. Finally, if we would not waste millions of dollars on sports programs and use the money toward Math, English, and Science than we would see a vast improvement in our students. Students are not challenged in educations because so many put all there focus in sports and it is sad. We see kids spending 20 to 30 hours a week going into sports but 2 or 3 into education.

    1. Teacher says:

      In as respectful a manner possible I point out your lack of knowledge, in that you did not list this concern, that teachers are not THE problem. Administrators determine the confines of a teacher’s environment and sometimes these environments are set up for failure. The administrator is incompetent, but no mention from you to confront that problem. The administrator has a personality conflict in setting up a teacher to fail, but you did not mention that. It is easy to offer up one group when a lack of knowledge prevents full understanding of a problem.

    2. Stephanie says:

      To Shaun,

      As a matter of fact, teachers do have a “State Evaluation” every single year that they teach. It is called PDAS. Comments sound much more intelligent when your facts are straight.

      1. joevee says:

        Shaun,
        could you forward your job description so I can “evaluate” you in the same manner you would wish us teachers to be evaluated? 🙂
        yes, the system is broke since when i was a kid. But guess what ,Bubba ?
        It “ain’t ” and never was the teachers .
        BTW, if you can read this , thank a teacher ( for real) …there are many who cannot. and less who even understand.
        As for the illegals , I’m on your side there but guess what? if we don’t educate them, then we have criminals and do nothings who will eventually victimize us(including you) We don’t have a choice. Education is the key to freedom , no matter how trite that sounds.

    3. Oscar says:

      learn to spell >

  2. Rick McDaniel says:

    That’s the price of building the Cowboys a stadium, on taxpayer dollars.

    1. Blue Koolaid says:

      Hey idiot, I guess Cowboy Stadium is also the cause for Forth Worth being in the hole $80 mil, Dallas $250 mil, and every other district in Texas! Get your fact right and your head out of your a$$.
      Go COWBOYS!!!!!

      1. Jason Lloyd says:

        Well Cowboys stadium may not be the cause of the deficit, but I do see it as an indicator of a serious problem that we have in Texas. We pass bonds and make as many concessions in order to fund an overpriced football stadium. When our children are facing a very scary time in education, we cannot raise a penny. We will pay more in taxes so that the Cowboys can have a brand new stadium, but not so a child can have a quality education.

      2. joevee says:

        Dear Blue Koolaid,
        you’re right , Cowboy stadium isnt the cause of the financial hole but guess what? The loser cowgirls didnt bring in a good return for the money spent on them either ! lol Who is dumb enough to spend that kind of money for that kind of performance? in real life ….NOBODY! in the fantasy miliionaire life, of course , jerry! roflmao !! sorry…I cant stop laughing …….

  3. Joseph says:

    The last thing we should be doing is drastically cutting our teachers. I agree with the poster above, there are many programs that are worthwhile, but should be cut before a wide spread teacher cut.

    AISD is about our students. Their education is the most important thing that AISD provides the students. Teachers are the primary “touch point” with the students. We must first take other drastic actions, like authletics, school bands, support positions, before we consider lowering the level of the really critical positions, front-line teachers.

  4. George says:

    Fire Rick Perry and we will save a lot wasted money!!!

    1. Stop-Slick-Rick says:

      Or maybe even get him to reduce his standard of living a little – I don’t know, perhaps we can force him into a low-rent home that would only cost $6,000 a month. Perhaps then we could afford a few more teachers for our kids.

  5. Len says:

    Shutdown all outside travel by staff. Elimate upper management jobs first. Keep teaqchers in place. Cancel all sports, band and other similar teams travel.

  6. Zane says:

    My Wife was cut last Monday form the AISD. The layoffs have already begun and no one is talking about it. She was not a teacher so I guess it does not matter to media or the public. Just talking about the sacred cow teachers is getting the press…the little people that make the school run be damned.

    1. Jeanine J. says:

      I care a great deal about the losses our district put in place last week. I had to let 3 of my kindergarten assistants and my Guidance Tech know they would not have a job next year. What a tremendous loss to our students, teachers and school. We could not get along without our TAs. They work with our students daily. They help teach small groups and assist the teachers in many ways in order to meet the varied needs of our little ones. Our Guidance Tech handles our testing which has freed our counselor to actually work with students and give guidance lessons in the classrooms. Not after this year. She will spend all her time doing paperwork, instead of working with students who need her help. None of this is fair. But what’s most unfair is WE did not create this problem. The economy did NOT create this problem. Rick Perry created it back in 2006 when he cut the funding source for schools by cutting property taxes. He was told by the Comptroller’s office and the Legislative Budget Board that it would create a $5 billion deficit each year – which it has. This is called a structural deficit, not caused by the economy, but rather by the way the bill was set up. RICK PERRY and the LEGISLATURE knew this and passed the bill anyway. He has jeopardized our state’s financial future and the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE ANY MORE CUTS. RICK PERRY AND THE LEGISLATURE CREATED THIS PROBLEM AND THEY CAN FIX IT.

      1. rp says:

        Beautifully and perfectly said! My husband and I have followed this also and knew then what was coming.. if you vote republican and are a state employee you are voting against your own interests. We must pay attention to sources that give us the TRUTH and not rely on heresay, media blurbs, idiotic and lying tv personalities and one particular news source called FOX NEWS! (aka faux news). The truth is out, and sad to say, we told you so… I am a teacher in Arlington and I’m sick about all this, but maybe now people will see what all this republican leadership they keep voting for is doing to us– they’re all about big business and their millionaire friends… they’ve got what they want for their children, enough money to pay for their healthcare and enough money for their retirement… to heck with everybody else. You’re right, they allowed it to happen, everybody is now figuring that out, and they must fix it!

      2. Stop-Slick-Rick says:

        EXACTLY!! The structural tax deficit is the part of this story that people don’t understand. The politicians played a shell game with our tax dollars and the losers were educators and children. WHY DOES THE PUBLIC TOLERATE SUCH SHENANIGANS WITH THEIR TAX MONEY?

        People – become informed about this issue and contact your representatives to fix it. Demand they fix school funding and tap the rainy day fund to get schools by until they’ve resolved this problem that they created.

        Find more information and resources at http://www.savetxschools.org.

      3. Student at Gunn says:

        Do you work at sherrod cause my principals name was Ms.Jeanie Johnson

    2. Rowdy says:

      Zane is correct, However sacred cow teachers support the little people that make the school run. You can’t expect a student to feel valued if the district will terminates janitors, councilors, security bus driver cafeteria employees and maintenance. A dirty, run down school with no security is no place to learn or teach. I am not sure why this is not being publicized, but everyone should know these little people also have a big impact on student. They also provide a positive roll model and encourage student to do well and many time a student will talk to them about problems they will not share with teachers of administrator. A house is only as good as it’s foundation and the little people as Zane calls the are the foundation. We can survive without upper level administrators. But we can not function without the support of janitors, councilors, security bus driver cafeteria employees and maintenance.

  7. Mike says:

    The AISD does yearly performance evaluations and should consider the last three years performance instead of the first three years probation when considering cuts. This could possibly cut higher paid performance problems. Secondly at some point in the recent past new teachers are required to be certified. Please consider a time fram for uncertified teachers to be tested and certified. This could make the cuts an easyer process.

  8. Concerned parent & teacher's wife says:

    I love George’s comment about Rick Perry. If he had only accepted the stimullus package but he had too much pride. I wonder how proud he will be of the future of our students? It is impossible to please everyone but I don’t think any of this is going to please ANYONE. There has always been a fine balance between Sports, Fine Arts and Education and I hope it continues to be that way. It is a shame that teachers aren’t allowed to be teachers anymore without BIG BROTHER involved. TAKS, End of Course Exams? What next will be considered a waste? Oh, my blood pressure just went up- I need to go see the school nurse.. OH>I forgot, she got fired too.

  9. Joseph says:

    Cut under performing teachers, regardless of years of service. Go through the list and eliminate any teacher that does not lead a lifestyle that is conducive of our students; arrests, credit issues, affairs, DWI, child support evaders etc. We need the best teachers to role model and teach our kids. It takes a village. Many would be eliminated if parameters would change to the best of the best, leaving room for “true” teachers. Our students deserve this.

  10. TeacherByChoice says:

    As an AISD teacher, I am amazed at how little others know about school funding- and why should they? The media really does a poor job of informing the public in an unbiased manner. Many “support” positions are funded out of Title I money from the federal government or other grant funds. Cutting these positions would save the district no money whatsoever since the federal money comes with strings- long strings that dictate how and when that funding can be used. Cutting these positions does not free up any money whatsoever to fund other positions.

    There are lots of things hidden in the numbers that the media hasn’t exposed. When each department cut their budgets by 5% a couple weeks ago, did you realize that much of that came in the form of cutting staff? No- it was only reported as cutting the budget by 5%. I didn’t realize it either until I started asking a few deeper questions!

    For the first time in over ten years, the great citizens of Arlington approved a huge bond last year that provided much needed services, supplies, and equipment. For example, did you know we (the wonderful teachers) made do with ten year old computers to teach our students 21st-century skills! Ten years! And our antiquated science labs are finally reaching into the 21st century. We really are miracle workers. We have done with so little for so long- but only with the availability of support staff providing them with the curricular, disciplinary, and management support that is absolutely crucial. Now that we have taken those steps forward, are we going to wipe out everything we’ve done?

    Every year the state ups the ante on the TAKS test (soon to be STAAR) and yet we want teachers to meet these challenges without support? Keep in mind that as a parent, you see only the services your child needs as crucial. But teachers are charged with differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners- high achievers, low achievers, ESL students, G/T kids, special ed, dyslexia, physically handicapped, emotionally disturbed, homeless, at-risk, 504 students, and a plethora of other issues. And don’t forget the other charges to us- teach students the necessary social skills, model and teach technology skills, communicate with parents through various channels, attend staff development, keep up with best practices and research in the various fields, and on and on. These things are required- not suggested, not fluff, not voluntary. To maintain all this without support means writing some students off- which students are you going to write off?

    Just a closing thought- and several others have commented about this- just how much is the district spending on the sacred cow- athletics? Why isn’t the top administration talking more about this instead of sweeping it under the carpet and being all hush hush about it? You want to cut out all kinds of fine arts programs and just mention getting rid of two coaches at the high school! That’s just a political bone your throwing. Do we really need so many coaches for an extra-curricular activity. Let me say that again- “extra curricular.” The last time I looked, “extra” meant “in addition to.” We don’t have room for additions right now! Don’t get me wrong, I love sports. But when it comes down to cutting out what’s best academically or maintaining an athletic program, give me the academics any day. It’s time to dig deeper and make some real changes!

    1. Clayton W. says:

      There’s an idea, CBS! How about you go make that open records request and enlighten us all. How much is Arlington paying for its precious football? Don’t forget all those coaches, asst. coaches, equipment, field maintenance, etc. You up for that challenge? Bring us some real news- instead of rehashing what’s already been said over and over!

  11. D. Williamson says:

    Its funny how peopl discuss dishing the sports programs (mostly those who probably never excelled in athletics). That’s not the problem! Look at how much food from the cafeteria is thrown away each day. Look at the number of lights being on during the course of a school day (solar powered or even God’s good ol’ natural light would suffice in most rooms). It’s sad that it has come to this and the blame could go around the state and back, but there are lost of ways to cut budgets and our students, teachers and coaches should not be involved. The city just made a grip from the Super Bowl and it doesn’t look as if they are worried about this one bit. Now is this so important to us that we would be willing to take an increased property tax until a better budget system is put in place? Not Many!

  12. Steve says:

    You like voting Republican, right?? Here is what it gets you!!

    1. rp says:

      Steve, can we put that on a bumper sticker? Amen!

  13. jim says:

    Eliminate competitive sports programs until we’re in the black and save all teachers!

  14. DEBORAH says:

    IF AISD IS SO POOR HOW COME ALL THE TEACHERS AT ARLINGTON HIGH GOT BRAND SPANKING NEW IPADS LAST MONTH…DONT TELL ME IT WAS PAID FOR BY A GOVERNMENT OR TECHNOLOGY GRANT…THE AISD COULD HAVE AUCTIONED OFF THOSE IPADS AT ONE HIGH SCHOOL AND SAVED TWO OR THREE TEACHERS JOBS..MULTIPLY THAT BY THE OTHER SCHOOLS IN ARLINGTON THAT GAVE THEIR TEACHERS FREE IPADS AND THATS MORE JOBS SAVED…THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THE GIFT OR SPENDING ABUSES AT AISD…ANOTHER IS WHY HAVE WE BEEN RENTING UTA MAVERICK STADIUM AT 90,000 A YEAR FOR WHAT THE PAST 15-20 YEARS WHEN WE COULD HAVE TAKEN THAT RENT MONEY AND BUILT A COMPLEX LIKE MANSFIELD HAS OR LIKE THE ONES FORT WORTH HAS…ANY DUMMY KNOWS RENTING IS NOT SMART …ALSO WHY DOESNT AISD SELL ALL OF THE LAND AND PROPERTY IT OWNS THAT WE DO NOT NEED AND IT IS NOT USED ON A DAILY BASIS? FOR EXAMPLE THE PRIME PIECE OF PROPERTY BY THE PARKS MALL THAT USED TO BE A MOVIE THEATRE. DONT CRY TO ME AISD AND TRY TO INCREASE MY HOME TAXES UNLESS YOU CUT YOUR SPENDING AND SELL YOUR ASSETS..

  15. Oscar says:

    Well, i am a student at Lamar High School and i heve not seen any teacher or staff person with an ipad. I have friends that go to arlington high and they aslo say the same thing. There is no prove about ur comment> sorry.
    Its not about what u think its true… its about what u cant prove right or wrong.🙂

  16. johnmoore says:

    Oscar…try calling Shelia Hill the technology coordinator at AHS and she will tell you some teachers at AHS recieved iPADs this year from an old bond election ….She did confirm a few teachers at AHS recieved Ipads but some AISD schools ordered them fro all their teachers but she could not name the schools. (or would not) After the bond election the teachers and schools got to make a a wish list for items they wanted in the classroom. The money from the bond election should have been spent more wisely or saved for budget crisis not for IPADS…Why do the teachers need ipads when they have AISD laptops ??? Also the reason you dont see them is probably because the teachers take them home and their kids are using them…Just because you dont see the abuse doesnt mean that its not happening…

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