GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – During an hour-long presentation, Grand Prairie Superintendent Susan Hull explained to parents that the district faces a $15 million to $26 million budget shortfall in the upcoming school year.
The evening was billed as a ‘Town Hall’ meeting followed by a question-and-answer session, but Hull’s presentation took up much of the time allotted and explained the harsh reality of the difficult budget season. In the first draft of the state budget, public education was underfunded by $9.3 billion .
“It’s just the teachers, the parents, the staff; it’s just upsetting that it could happen,” said Ginger Johnson, a parent.
Some parents were frustrated because they were told to write their questions on cards and were not allowed to ask anything directly.
“This was not a town hall meeting, this was a lecture,” parent Steven Pryor said. “I want to know why she’s afraid to face the parents one-on-one, face-to-face, to have a dialogue with them.”
To meet the shortfall, the district is looking into cutting programs and enlarging class sizes. Staff reduction will be handled through attrition.
Parents want to do something. Johnson is going to try and help recruit more children to Garner Elementary to keep it from being shut down. The district said the school has 300 students enrolled. It was built to hold 500 to 700.
Other parents will wait for the next meeting, scheduled for next week. But they said they aren’t expecting to hear anything different.