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Fort Worth ISD Mulls Over Cuts To 3 Programs

By Jane Slater & Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth ISD is once again holding a special meeting to discuss potential budget cuts in the district as it faces a two-year deficit in the $80 Million range.

At Tuesday’s board meeting three programs were up for discussion; Pre-Kindergarten, Supplemental Math & Science, and capping terminal pay for years of service.

The district’s supplemental math and science program costs the district over $1 Million a year.  Twenty-six instructors are assigned to various districts, in addition to their primary instructors.

“That has been a big initiative for the Fort Worth school district, to look at the under performance of their students in math and science and that has been a big initiative to bring those scores up. It’s unfortunate that they are looking at reducing those programs because its been very effective in the past,” said Stephen Poole, Executive Director for the United Educator’s Association.

Parents hope the program is funded, they said kids need it, particularly those in low-income and low-performing areas.  “The extra help we get here (is important)…we need every bit of it and then some,” said Willie Kelley, a grandfather of a Fort Worth 7th grader.

Ultimately, the district decided not to cut the program, but did cut funding for Pre-K teacher’s aides.  The move will save the district $4.7 Million, but trustee Ann Sutherland called out other board members for the vote, and for not considering cuts to administrators.  “We’ve now recommended to cut 233 school site positions, and not one administrative position.  And I am not happy about this.”

The third program, a decision on capping terminal pay, was tabled for another school year.

The district has not announced plans for teacher layoffs.  If they decide to do, they must alert employees by mid-April.

So far, the district said they are waiting to see how many teachers would cash in on their terminal pay and $5,000 incentive program currently in place for those who choose to resign or retire. 1200 district employees are eligible and the savings would be in the $30 Million range, which would cushion the district from further cuts or layoffs.

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