GPISD Looks At Closing School For Budget

By Stephanie Lucero, CBS 11 News

GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – A battle over an elementary school has parents promising to protest in Grand Prairie.

The Grand Prairie Independent School District is considering the idea of closing one of its elementary schools, and some parents say they will fight to keep it open.

Due to drastic cuts in State funding, administrators are considering closing John Garner Elementary School after this school year.  Doing so would cut $1.5 million from the district’s budget officials say.

Administrators also say the building could generate money if it’s turned into a day care center or a Montessori school.

“I realize they’re trying to generate income but I just hate to see our children suffer” says Danika Leeks, the mother of a kindergarten student.  Leeks says her son is thriving at the school, which is rated “exemplary” by the state.  “He has done phenomenal there.”

Grand Prairie ISD officials say the State has notified them that between $15 million and $26 million could be cut in the next budget.  The district’s current maintenance and operating budget is $185 million.

In a press release Monday, Director of Communications Sam Buchmeyer said “The GPISD Board of Trustees has been preparing for the potential of a catastrophic occurrence in Texas school finance since 2007-2008.”

The school district is currently offering teachers money if they give a “notice of intent to resign or retire.” But they have only a few days to decide.

“All staff who know they will not return for the 2011-2012 school year will receive a $200 payment  . . . and Retire/rehire staff who notifies GPISD by Friday, February 18, 2011, will receive a $10,000 payment.

Staff with 30+ years and who are eligible to retire, who provide information of intent to retire by February 21, 2011, will receive a $10,000 payment” according to the release.

Buchmeyer also told CBS 11 the school district is considering cutting a number of programs.  In administration, a deputy superintendent who is leaving will not be replaced.  Other cuts could come by laying off technology facilitators, librarians, providing the Gifted and Talented program in student’s home rooms and the district is considering cuts in Special Education Inclusion teachers.

“If we find something district-wide, that could offset saving $1.5 million and we could find another plan, other things to do with that school, it possibly could be that we could leave the school open” says Buchmeyer.

  • Ramon Ayala

    This is so wrong, we live in this district and both of our sons have attended & are atennding this school. We left the DISD for the same budget cuts & now this in our back yard. How dare the state try to close down a school in a communitty that does so well for the students and those who live here. Its not right for our state to attack the schools that do so great for the children involved. Just because you can, does not make it right!

  • Mrs. Lacy

    The consideration of closing Garner is appauling . I could understand if the school was not performing at TEA’s standard but it is. I have children that have attend Garner. Garner has been pinnicle in my children’s success. The support given by the Teachers and Staff could not be measured in words. Maybe I would understand if Garner was a poor performing school academically. It is not. It has the “Exemplary” standard and is recognized by the TEA. So I fail to understand how a school and staff that have worked their tales off trying to to meet state standards, students requirements, and parents expectations would even be considered for closing. This is a great miscarriage of justice. Not only the impact on the Staff, but what about the childeren. Is there any consideration for them. I have a daughter at Garner who would be graduating to the 3rd grade, Garner has been essential in her success,. When we came to Garner 3 years ago, my daughter benefited from the Speech services that was offered due to her Speech Delay. She exited out of that program 2 years ago and has been on the A and B honor with her peers. I know without the support of the Teachers and Staff, this would not be possible. I’m a stay at home mom now. I have worked in Corporate America for many years before. I’ve never heard of any Metric in place in which a top performer is penalized for doing their best. Whom ever had the great ideal of considering Garner for closing has no vision or is so far removed from the community that their vision is skewed.

  • Susan Rogers

    […] this school year. Doing so would cut $1.5 million from the district’s budget officials say. [ View Article ]   Feb 15, 2011, […]

  • bill smith

    cut the sports ,, my kids need a education not a 2 million dollar football field

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