DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Once the state budget is set, Dallas school district leaders expect to see a $150 million gap in their budget. The expected deficit has driven the district to offer incentives to employees to resign.
April 8th is the deadline for non-teachers to take the incentive, which is 15-percent of their salary or $10,000, whichever is less.
More than 200 employees have taken the incentives that are supposed to lessen the need for job cuts in the classroom.
Dennis Voyles has spent 22 of his 33 years as a science teacher in the of Dallas schools. But this year will be Voyles last with Dallas.
Facing a flurry of upwards to 4,000 school district layoffs, Voyles accepted $10,000 as part of DISD’s resignation incentive plan.
Voyles says his leaving could save the job of someone else. “I don’t plan on quitting teaching,” he said. “I’ll continue teaching, but probably at another location.”
In all, some 700 Dallas ISD teachers and principals agreed to take the one-time incentive payment offer, and quit their jobs. That action lightened the load of anticipated Dallas classroom teacher layoffs.
The school system’s latest teacher layoff count is just over 500. That’s about two teachers per school.
“Well, first of all, the only reason we’re at 500 layoffs for teachers right now is we’ve had people take voluntary resignations,” explained DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “We’re actually losing 1,600 teaching positions.”
The incentive resignations mean layoffs will decline for Dallas teachers, but the overall reduction of teachers, counselors and aides will remain high.
The result still means DISD students will feel the squeeze directly and Voyles knows it. “It matters to the kids more than anything else, because they get less individual instruction,” he said. “[There’s] less time for class and any less time takes away from their educational experiences.”
At one DISD high school a math pre-Advanced Placement class currently has 17 students, but next year, that number if expected to increase by 10.
It’s simple math; (-) fewer teachers, (+) adds up to students packing classrooms, and (-) subtracting from the learning day.
While Dallas may be eliminating layoffs, the district can’t get around the ultimate challenge of eliminating teachers.