Fort Worth ISD Freezes Salaries, Plans To Cut Programs

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

We created this interactive map to accompany our online and on-screen coverage of the budget shortfall’s impact on area school districts. It allows you to track how much less each school district would receive based on the first draft of the state’s budget.

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth ISD is now under an official hiring freeze and administrators say cuts look inevitable to overcome its budget shortfall.

Dr. Sylvia Reyna, FWISD’s Chief of Administration told the school board Tuesday, “specifically to Fort Worth ISD, there will be a reduction between $50 to $80 million.”

Teachers Union Executive Director Larry Shaw has made the rounds at school board meetings across North Texas and said he’s never seen budget problems as widespread as they currently are.

“This is a crisis,” he said. “This is a crisis we’ve never been in before, not like this.”

Shaw said programs would be the first to go.

“You’re probably looking at the at-risk programs being lost, the programs where they have extra help for kids who need it the most,” Shaw said.

CBS 11 News has obtained an outline of $18 million in proposed cuts in FWISD.

PEAK is on the list: The Public Educator Accelerating Kids program helps children at 18 at-risk schools. PEAK may take a $1.5 million hit.

Other proposed cuts include:

  • Campus Monitors – $1.1 Million
  • Tutors – $31,000
  • 8th Grade Soccer – $62,000
  • Power Lifting – $11,000

Though the only action taken at Tuesday’s board meeting was the hiring freeze, teachers remain nervous.

“Even still, who knows who’s going to be without a job,” Yolanda Rodela said. Rodela is a teaching assistant who attended the board meeting.

Reyna said the goal was to cut $30 million from the budget this year and $30 million from the budget next year.

Meantime, Shaw hopes the state will release money from its $9.5 billion Rainy Day fund, which is a reserve funded primarily by oil and gas taxes that refills itself over time

“It’s raining,” Shaw said. “It’s pouring.”

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  • Martha

    What about tx lottery, they always advertise that they fund tx public education????

    • StopSlickRick

      They lied. Education never gained anything from lottery funds.

  • Rick Howell

    All the city of Fort Worth has to do to solve all their budget problems is do away with the paid retirement program for city employees and replace it with a 401K retirement program. The retirement program is an albatross around the neck of the taxpayers and nobody on the city council has the nerve to say anything about it.

  • eh

    why are they not looking at an obvious solution to some of the cuts…the salaries of the school board members….they should eliminate and or cut the salaries of alll the board memebers state wide….especially the board presidents….they are quite a worthless group…why should they be left with their quite large salaries when students and teachers are the ones that will suffer….

    • Jennifer

      Eh, you are absolutely right. The FWISD Superintendent Melody Johnson’s salary in 2008 was $328,950.00. That’s almost as much as the president of the United States. I’m sorry but with the way the school system is right now, she should be fired. I’d like to know when the next public school board meeting is so I can bring this to their attention face to face.

  • Susie Kasper

    The cuts should start at the top and then trickle down. With the day of technology why do the schools still use reams and reams of paper? Why do they not use existing technology to help reduce expenses? Reduction of the paper budget by half or more for each school would save at least 1 or 2 jobs. Change the setting on the thermostat 68 in the winter and 78 in the warmer months and you would save another 1 or 2 jobs. Hello, start with the obvious. We have public libraries all over the city…why does each school have to have a library? Research can be done on the computer now days..all public libraries have computers for those students which don’t have them at home. Come on, look at the obvious ways to cut the budget before you start cutting teachers..espcially in the elementary schools.

  • http://Crisisintheschools Wayne Betts

    Stop providing free meals to students & use the funds to offset the shortage. Have the students purchase their books & let the parents pay for their children’s education. Eliminate the sports & other activities, & provide an education only. That system has worked in the past.

    • StopSlickRick

      Ever hear of the Texas constitution? It promises “a free and appropriate education for all.” So your ill-conceived plan to require parents to pay for their kids’ education would require a constitutional amendment. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

      And please, do tell us when this system worked in the past. I don’t recall when parents were required to pay for education and textbooks. IGNORANCE, WAYNE – it’s a dangerous thing.

      And seriously, you want poor kids to go hungry? The kids that receive free or reduced lunch are impoverished. Do you know that some unfortunate kids rely on school FOR THE ONLY MEAL THEY GET EACH DAY? Are you really that heartless?

      Are you a Christian, Wayne? If so, you might want to re-think your selfish stance. (And don’t give me that give a fish/ teach to fish BS. That’s ignorant double speak trying to hide the ironic lack of Christian values that always seem to come from the most conservative among us.) Shame on you!

    • Chris

      Yeah, at least then education might be appreciated. Kids nowadays feel like they are entitled to everything without earning it. Education should be something they want and look forward to not a prison they cant wait to come out of.

  • CE

    In the light of proposed cuts, why is Irving posting a NEW job for ASSOCIATE SUPERINTENDENT and reviving a dormant job of DIRECTOR of Curriculum and Instruction. Wouldn’t these salaries be better served directly serving students with teachers and programs currently on the cut list

  • Rico

    Someone may have to check my facts but I remember meeting two retired state employees a few years back who were drawing retirement pay while also returning back to their previous state employment at the same wages. This seems like double dipping to me and I wonder how much money could be saved and how many positions would open up should this be rectified.

    • StopSlickRick

      You’re correct – double dipping is a real problem and the reason a lot of school districts are offering incentives to what they term “retire-rehires.” It’s quite a scam and Texas outlawed it years ago; however, there are still enough retire-rehires in the system that is continues to create budget issues for districts.

      The problems associated with these retire-rehires are numerous – typically they’re paid very high salaries because of the number of years of experience they have; if they’re older individuals their health care costs are more expensive and strain the claim pool for the district increasing costs for all employees; and the district has to pay an additional % into the state pension system for these individuals – kind of counter intuitive, but true!

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