Reporting Jack Fink
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Independent School District will lose $63 million of state funding starting in the next schoolyear. And on Thursday evening, school board trustees sat down to finalize the millions of dollars of budget cuts that are now necessary.
More than 50 people signed up to address the school board prior to the final budget vote.
Among those people was Hobie Hukill, a librarian at Samuell High School who expressed concern about his job and the Dallas students. Librarians are just some of the more than 1,400 positions already eliminated by the district for next year. “Far from being a luxury or something nice to have, we are essential to real student achievement,” Hukill said.
Also among those who attended the Thursday meeting were Mayor-Elect Mike Rawlings, who just wanted to listen, learn and help in any way possible. “What can we do to help you as a school district,” asked Rawlings, “because the kids are our number one priority.”
The good news is that no more layoffs are expected. In fact, the district will actually have to hire people. The DISD is looking to bring on nearly 200 employees, most of them to fill a critical need in math and science teaching positions.
“You need a certain number of science teachers and a certain number of math teachers. We’re going to need to make certain that all of our positions are filled for next year,” said DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. “When you’ve got this many, you are going to have flux from year to year.”
The DISD already gave financial incentives to nearly 600 teachers who resigned. Some of those teachers could be re-hired, but not until after September 1.
In addition to the $63 million of state funding being lost this year, the DISD plans to move an extra $13 million of federal funds into savings, to be used as a cushion for the following year, when the district could lose up to $100 million from the state.