By Matt Thomas, 1080 KRLD & Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The Plano Independent School District is notifying nearly 350 employees that their positions are being eliminated.

Some districts have yet to determine how many they’ll let go because the extent of the state’s budget shortfall is not yet known, but Plano Superintendent Dr. Doug Otto tells KRLD they’re already notifying staff because they know there is no way they will be able to avoid layoffs even if the best case scenario plays out in Austin.

Superintendent Dr. Doug Otto of the Plano ISD on 1080 KRLD

Plano ISD faces a $65 Million shortfall over the next two years.
“Now that the positions and people have been identified, the board will have to make it official at the may board meeting. We’ll begin to build this reduced amount into our budget and hopefully begin to whittle away at what’s going to be a fairly large deficit,” Dr. Otto says.

School Board Trustee Missy Bender lays the blame squarely on the state legislature.  “I don’t think there is a vision for what state collectively in Austin believes in and beneath all of that, the ability to fund that is broken.”

On Tuesday the board reviewed a plan that woulc cut $26.6 Million out of their budget, but that still leaves a huge hole.  One consideration is to ask Plano residents to vote on a tax increase.

A handful of parents and teachers attended Tuesday’s meeting.  Parent Kimberly DeWeese would be in favor of an increase.  “I didn’t think anyone sits at home and says, wow, I have this extra $300 this year and this is what I’m doing with my property taxes. That small amount per person will really add up to the district.”

About 220 of the positions to be cut are teachers, but Dr. Otto says hopefully that number can be reduced by staff who voluntarily leave at the end of the year.

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