DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – What would you do to fix the staggering school budget problems facing your local school district? A group of 10 parents and other taxpayers within Dallas ISD boundaries are getting their chance to take a shot at it.
They’re part of the school board’s newly formed budget review commission, and already have a tough assignment: Evaluate the district’s proposed budget cuts, and come up with their own.READ MORE: Shamira Wright-Sanders Charged In Connection To Fatal Shooting Of Child Inside Her Car At Walmart
Monday evening, they met with the school administrators for the first time, and they weren’t shy about sharing their ideas either.
Michael MacNaughton is an outspoken critic of Dallas ISD, and he sits on the commission. “I’m just a dad with a kid in the school system.”
One of the first suggestions these citizens made was to make cuts away from schools. Cut non-campus personnel, administrators in the central office, maintenance, and technical staff, and do it sooner.
The district’s Chief Financial Officer, Alan King says, “They’re asking us to look at all positions we’re considering for reductions in future years, and maybe reduce them a little sooner so we can increase the fund balance for the current year.”READ MORE: Johnson County Resident Timothy Vandeventer Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Child Porn
In a scenario where the district would lose $150 million dollars in state funding during the next two years, the district has proposed cutting 450 non-campus jobs amounting to more than $27 million.
But MacNaughton says that number should be higher. “I think we can identify between 600 and 800 of those non-campus employees.” He says enough teachers have been cut.
Under the same scenario of the district losing $150 million in state funding, the district has proposed reducing the number of teachers by nearly 1300. More than 700 have already taken a buyout to leave, and there are more than 200 vacancies, leaving nearly 375 that will still need to be laid off.
Monday’s meeting is the first of many to come for the citizens group, and so far, MacNaughton is giving the district good marks. He says, “I think DISD has taken a good step in opening up this process to the public for the first time in many, many years.” MacNaughton is also a founding member of the political action committee Dallas Friends of Public Education.
Even though their recommendations are non-binding on the district, administrators told them they are listening, and open to reviewing the budget in a new way.MORE NEWS: Police Searching For Suspect Who Robbed And Shot Victim Behind Farmers Branch City Hall
Despite the public’s new input, there is still a lot of uncertainty because state lawmakers haven’t finalized their proposed school funding and budget yet.