Arlington Teachers Putting Out The SOS

By Joel Thomas, CBS 11 News

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The budget forecast for Arlington ISD schools is bleak.  So teachers in the district want to make sure everyone knows just how bad it is.  Facing a possible $48 Million shortfall, AISD is considering deep cuts and reductions.

Teachers at Wimbish Elementary wanted to find a unique and high profile way to let parents know how dire the situation is.  And they had the perfect place for a message to be seen.

“Randol Mill and Fielder are pretty popular streets for cars to go in and out so they see it,” said Wimbish Elementary School teacher Liz DeLoach about the location of her school.

DeLoach teaches pre-k classes. But she also wanted to teach parents a lesson about school funding.  “We just felt somebody needed to say, ‘Hey, yeah, this is important. And not just for the school but the community’.”

She and and another teacher wrapped blue ribbons around the school’s trees and used blue cups stuck into a chain link fence to spell out SOS: Save Our Schools. The symbols were part of a statewide rally in Austin weeks ago. But it is a message people at the school don’t want to fade from public view.

“We just want to keep it in the public’s eye that in the State of Texas there is a crisis with our education system for funding,” said school principal Russ Berrone .

“I can’t go down to Austin and I can’t convince other people but I can put SOS out there and somebody else can take it from there,” DeLoach said.

“We want to keep this at the forefront of what’s going on in education and so when people drive by they don’t forget there’s a crisis right now,” Berrone said.

The ribbons have an effect on parents.  “They just didn’t realize that their children were going to have more students with them in the classroom and their teachers were going to leave,” DeLoach said. “And that scared them. And a couple of them have even asked them who do i call. So that helped.”

School administrators say the ribbons will stay until the legislature finishes its work on school finance.


One Comment

  1. Shotty says:

    AISD has over $70 million dollars in their rainy day fund. They are $48 in the hole. Google it if you dont believe me. So they want Gov Perry to spend the states’ rainy day money, but not spend their own. They are like Democrats wanting to spend other people’s money. Gov Perry proposed a 6% cut in education over 2 years. Mansfield, Ducanville, Frisco, H.E.B., Garland, and several other districts are NOT FIRING ONE TEACHER. Maybe Arlington ISD should hire on of those superintendents. This is much ado about nothing.

    1. tman says:

      yes sir that is correct

    2. StopSlickRick says:

      That’s not a rainy day fund – it’s their reserve. The ISDs are required by the state of Texas to maintain a funding based upon payroll costs, cash flow, etc. Once you look past the cushion they’re required to have, for most districts there is very little left over that would make any kind of impact in a budget crisis this severe.

      This is just the latest shiny object Rick Perry has floated out there lately hoping to distract people from noticing that he took us from an $8 billion budget surplus to a $27 billion budget deficit in five short years. Why do Texans continue to fall for it and believe this man?

      Further, other districts are not laying off NOW. This isn’t a one-time cut because of a bad economy that everyone needs to tighten their belt to weather. This is a STRUCTURAL tax deficit – it’s inherent and it won’t go away until funding mechanisms are re-designed. So, Mansfield, Duncanville, etc. may be okay this time, but it will catch up with them at some point. I also suggest for districts that aren’t going to RIF, check if they’re not reaching the same end through attrition. That’s what many have to do. I can assure you – no district, no matter how “well prepared” will be left unscathed in this debacle brought to you by Rick Perry and his band of thieves.

    3. Rose says:

      oh please ! The republican tea terrorist have wasted more money on 2 failed Bush wars than the democrats ever did in the history of the USA !

    4. Lynn says:

      …and none of those districts are as large as Arlington. It will catch up to them eventually. It is just more drastic in the large districts.

  2. SDFin says:

    When will our govt wake up & realize we can no longer support the millions of illegals’ kids & anchor babies? More schools are having to be built, more bilingual teacher, more money spent on their free meals… it just never ends. For people who are not in our country legally and, therefore, not suppose to be here.

    1. tman says:

      citizens needs to wake up its a shame that texas school system is decaying
      something must be done, need new law and send all illegals back right now

  3. max says:

    Schools waste a lot of money. I saw a number of new stadiums built to replace perfectly good stadiums, Garland is giving teachers 10000 for experienced teachers to retire so they can hire first year people. Maybe Arlington could borrow some of that money, maybe AISD could ask Garland how they were able to afford that. Or, maybe AISD could better manage the high property taxes I pay, or maybe better manage the millions the state gives them from taxes they got from people like me. They dug their own hole. Don’t look to me to feel sorry for them.

    1. StopSlickRick says:

      Stadiums are bond issues that are voted on by the public.

      The money offered for retirement is a means of cost-savings forced on them by the budget crisis. It’s actually a smart way to incent your costliest employees to retire, so you can hire cheaper labor. That’s what they’ve been forced to.

      The bottom line is your anger should be directed at the legislature – not the schools. Do schools overspend? Most certainly, but that is not the cause of this problem. Rick Perry’s tax plan in 2006 took us from an $8 billion budget SURPLUS in 2006 to a $27 billion budget DEFICIT today. Therein lies your problem. That is why the education budget is $9 billion short, your roads will not be repaired, and nursing homes will be closed. Slick Rick truly did write a “hot check” and we’re all paying for it now. If you want to be angry – that’s your man.

  4. Ciocc says:

    School districts must have a fund balance… they don’t collect much in the way of $$ until property taxes get paid in late December or January. However, they still have expenses and a payroll to meet that begins with the start of the school year. Without the fund balance, they would have to borrow this money and pay interest which can lead to huge extra expenses on such a large amount of money.

    Austin changed the formula in 2006 by forcing districts to lower property taxes by 1/3 and promising to fix the issue by raising a business tax that never amounted to much (thanks, Rick). The State Comptroller at the time (a Republican) said it was the “biggest hot check in the history of the state of Texas. She predicted a $23 Billion shortfall, but didn’t anticipate the financial collapse of Wall Street and the ‘Great Recession’.

    Meanwhile Rick Perry put on TV ads telling us how he had done such a great job of balancing the state budget. He forgot to mention that state law requires a balanced budget and that we were only a few months away from the mess we now have. If he didn’t know, he was incompetent. If he did know, then he was hiding the real truth in order to be re-elected. Either way, he should be forced to fix the mess he created, but not by forcing districts to fire huge amounts of staff and then go on TV and say that he “didn’t hire or fire a single teacher. That’s a local decision.” To top it all off, this idiot has some delusion that the US will be stupid enough to elect another TX governor to be President. What a joke.

    1. StopSlickRick says:

      Yeah, Slick Rick’s Texas Miracle is crumbling around him. Even Standard & Poors recognized it last month:

      “In our view, the state’s budget imbalance is likely to reappear or persist beyond the upcoming biennium unless other sources of revenue or additional budgetary flexibility are identified to fill this growing funding gap,” S&P credit analyst Horacio Aldrete-Sanchez

  5. Ciocc says:

    This was supposed to be a reply to Shotty’s comment, but it didn’t show up that way. It’s supposed to be a response to him saying AISD has a $78 million deficit, but they are only $48 mill in the hole and should use their own ‘rainy day fund’.

  6. Jack Feldman says:

    Shame on the teachers in Arlington, especially the mental midgets who went to Austin two weeks ago and protested. Arlington teachers are paid SUPER well and remember, these people are educators and should understand supply and demand. Teacher’s Unions are part of the problem, liberal thinking and voting Democrat bolster the idiocy. You teachers reading this know who you are but you are not smart enough to come up with viable solutions….all you want is for the Government to pay for everything……that’s not what made America great and YOU are part of America’s demise. SHAME on you Arlington communists!!!

    1. StopSlickRick says:

      Okay, Jack, for a mental giant such as yourself – how can you not be aware that Texas doesn’t have teacher’s unions? What they have in this state is far closer to a professional organization than what you see in Wisconsin. Unions have nothing to do with Texas’ problems. The real problem isn’t the pay of teachers either (which is actually lower than what many other college-educated professionals receive), the problem is a STRUCTURAL TAX DEFICIT.

      Did you not notice that Rick Perry took us from an $8 billion budget surplus to a $27 billion budget deficit in five years? It’s not the recession either, Jack. That’s just what Slick Rick wants you to believe. He distracts folks like you with shiny objects like, it’s the recession’s fault or the ISDS are at fault because they will be the ones that sign the pink slips or there’s a 1:1 ratio of administrators to teachers. None of these things are true, Jack, but sheeple such as yourself continue to accept this man at face value. Don’t believe me on the structural deficit, check out what Standard & Poors said in February 2011 about our persistent imbalance. It’s not going away until funding mechanisms are re-designed in this state once and for all.

      But, no, you keep up the rhetoric about big government paying for everything and totally miss the actual problem here. Ignorance like this is actually what will bring about America’s demise.

      1. Jack Feldman says:

        Where in my statement did I ever mention Rick Perry? Teacher’s Unions and tenure are definitely part of the problem, especially when tumble bugs like the Obama Poultry Pop who goes by StopSlickRick ignores. Hey Poultry Pop…..question for you…..when was the last time the State of Texas’ education level ranked in the top-10 in America? Exactly….it hasn’t, not even during the 55-year career of President Perry (there, I mentioned him). Education in Texas is a problem and has been a problem and Democrats like you who want to suck suck suck the life out of the competitive, hard working contributors to society need an attitude adjustment upside your head. I’m watching the Wisconsin situation closely as I also watch the Arizona border situation….two National travesties. Teachers Unions are as Professional as ACORN….stfu.

    2. Ciocc says:

      Shame on Jack Feldman for acting like he knows stuff w/o checking a single fact.

      The last time this state voted Democratic is when the Republican candidate for governor told women they should lean back and enjoy it if they were getting raped. I wish that were a joke, but it’s not.

      We don’t have teacher unions in this state.

      It has been a state obligation to educate its citizens for long enough that I’m not sure when that began. It’s only been in recent history that our governor decided he wasn’t going to live up to that.

      Not smart enough to come up with viable solutions? Don’t cut tax revenue by 1/3 in 2006 and say you are going to make up for it with a business tax you never really intend to collect. Don’t take stimulus funds in the mean time to cover the issue while you are talking out of the other side of your mouth and saying your state is so good it doesn’t need money from the feds. Don’t pander to tea baggers trying to bolster your attempt at national politics. Finally, don’t tell me what a wonderful job you have done managing the state’s finances while you are running it into the ground. You want businesses to move here? You may get a few in the short term with low taxes, but you will chase them out in the long term when you have a work force being educated by a system you have gutted and no one wants to work in.

      Some of these last comments are aimed at Jack Feldman while others are aimed at Rick Perry. I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure that out.

    3. AJ says:

      You really are an ignorant individual, are you? As the other person just said, Texas teachers are not unions. They are organizations and the difference of those two is that there is NO collective bargaining for salaries.

      How is the government paying for everything?

      Oh that’s right. You must be a rich person who puts their kids through private education. Go ahead and be the elitist that you are.

  7. Christine says:

    Nice explanation of the facts, Ciocc. Thanks.

    1. That $70 million is not a ‘rainy day fund.’ It is a fund balance that is required by the state. The district would be under sanctions from the state if it went below that balance.

    2. Because our state gets its tax revenue through sales tax and property tax, illegal immigrants pay taxes every time they buy something or pay rent. The state has not adjusted funding for the increased enrollment for years, but that increased enrollment is not all illegal immigrants’ children, not by a long shot.

    3. Jack, you’re right, teachers in the metroplex are paid well in comparison to other areas of the state, due to the competition that comes from so many districts in our area. There are many teachers who would take a pay cut to keep other teachers from being fired. This is not about our salaries, it’s about the quality of education in this state.

    4. While I was happy to hear Gov. Perry consider using the rainy day fund, that’s just a band-aid. When the legislature changed their funding for schools to a business tax, they knew that it would fall about $5 billion short each year. That was five years ago, and we are now reaping what they sowed. Unless they fix that structural deficit, we’ll just be in the same place two years from now.

    5. You can’t blame unions here — we’re a right-to-work state.

    6. This is a priorities problem, not a money problem. We need to decide if we as Texans believe that it is important to provide high-quality education for all young Texans. If it is, we need to pay for it. If not, we’ll pay a high price later. A Texas A&M study found that for every $1 invested in early childhood education, we get $3 back in economic activity (and lack need) of those educated, prepared adults. It makes economic sense to make this investment.

  8. joe says:

    Why don’t we get some of those “smart” people that run schools to figure out the mess? They seem to have a lot of “education.” I’m a high school dropout from AISD in the 70’s yet I make six figures mowing lawns. I’ll offer any of those smart folks a job if they are willing to work hard.

    1. StopSlickRick says:

      Joe – are you offering to solve this for all of the smart people? I can’t wait to hear the solution. Here’s the problem – school districts have funding frozen back to 2006 levels, yet they add 80,000 students per year. Do you have some special fuzzy math you can use to reconcile that? I personally don’t know of any cost-cutting, short of getting out of the education business, that will offset that kind of a budgetary hole. While you’re at it, maybe you can help Rick Perry figure out how he went from an $8 billion budget surplus in 2006 to a $27 billion budget deficit today – the actual cause of this problem. I’ll give you a hint – it’s a structural tax deficit he created with his tax plan of 2006. He wrote a “hot check” that we all pay for today. But, go ahead keep blaming the educators – that makes much more sense.

      1. Jack Feldman says:

        Joe, StopSlickRick seems to be the expert but rather than put on his big boy pants, he’s bulletproof behind a keyboard and a mouse.

        I was in Austin two weeks ago to listen to the protestors yell at the walls of our State Capitol. The teachers had some good points to make but much was overshadowed by the people like StopSlickRick who would vote for PeeWee Herman if he had a D by his name.

  9. john says:

    Sad that some politicize public education. The Supreme Court has stated that school districts can not be used to enforce immigration law. Yes, we have illegal students, but they are not the reason we are in this situation. I find it funny that people still say teachers get paid well. Our jobs are now year round with summer training. I don’t complain about my salary, but I find it a travesty that a 16 year veteran teacher in AISD makes a little over 50K. What other profession has that low rate of pay increase?

    So, lets say it this way. This education funding problem will affect every student in AISD. We are facing larger class sizes, additional teaching period each day, and smaller budgets. Your child will not have any teachers undivided attention, nor will he have the smaller class sizes should they struggle in reading or math. AISD is a great place to work. I love it. But it is not the districts fault, they face this shortfall. As far as firing teachers, does anyone think that decision was made lightly?

    Yes, it is a call to run school districts more effectively. Cutting the fine arts and special programs is not the answer. Districts should look at their athletic budgets as a place to save money. Our priority is to produce an educated young adult who happens to be good in sports, not to produce a great athlete who can not perform at grade level upon graduation.

    1. Jack Feldman says:

      Nice post John. 16 years @ $50K is probably above the average salary. Your job isn’t easy and I agree that our focus on athletics is ridiculous. I hire young people and have for the last 20 years here in the metroplex……out of the last 12 hires, 11 of them have received their primary/secondary education from a state other than Texas. That’s pathetic.

      1. Ciocc says:

        Let’s see, Jack, you’ve been hiring young people for the last 20 years and expecting the state to provide you with a trained product free of charge to you. That may be stretching it since you have probably been paying state taxes, but I do that and I haven’t gotten any trained labor out of the deal.

        Now you now say 11 of those you hired lately came from vastly superior out-of-state education systems to which you pay no support. No state taxes whatsoever? Sounds to me like you are THE problem with the current state of affairs. You are sucking at the proverbial government teat and all you can do is complain that it is costing you too much and doesn’t work well. I propose that you owe these other states for services rendered. Does your business want to give all their products/services away for free?

        Since these other schools are so good, I value the education they have given the people you’ve hired at $10k/year. I’ll throw in kindergarten for free, since they probably did that here in TX and then moved on to better educational pastures. At that rate you owe these states $120k/per person you’ve hired (assuming 1st grade through high school… you did say primary/secondary… if you mean college, that would be post-secondary). You’ve fessed up to 11… that will be $1,320,000 please. I’ll actually listen to something you have to say once I see that you’ve paid in full. It doesn’t mean I will agree with anything you say… just listen.

        Thank you.

  10. tED says:

    I do not feel sorry for AISD either.The voters of Arlington voted to pay for Jerry World with their tax money and now it isn’t paying off and it leaks! I bet if the current Supreme Court voted on the illegals students now it would kick them out ! That is the only good thing about the current Supreme Court.

  11. Jack Feldman says:

    Education in Texas needs to be fixed….period. What came first the StopSlickRick or the egg? Teachers & School Districts in Texas have to educate and make it happen….Parents are a HUGE part of the problem as well but America is getting weaker and wussified……success breeds success and the opposite is true as well. The status quo isn’t producing across the board successful results. Competition makes us stronger and we need to rid the system of overpaid administrators and ineffective teachers. How are we going to do that StopSlickRick or is it all George Bush’s fault now? Oh, and for your information, I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat…..I’m merely seeking positive solutions.

    1. Ray Peace says:

      Thank you Jack ! I agree with you completely ! We as Americans need to accept responsiblity here ! Everyone has toons to say, but no one is doing anything about it. It’s time to turn off the cable tv, ps3, and get back to basics. Everyone is pointing the finger and everyone but themselves.

      1. Ray Peace says:

        And of course I would have error in my statement ‘Tons’ lol

    2. AJ says:

      but you hate texas organizations

  12. SHELTON says:

    I was considering looking for a eaching job in Texas, but I guess I’ll keep my $120,000 after 25 years and stay here in NY.

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