Operation Education: Fort Worth ISD to unveil budget cut plan

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on February 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 22 at 6:31 PM

FORT WORTH- Parents, teachers and students have lined up to speak at Fort Worth Independent School District’s school board meeting.

The second largest district in North Texas broke the bad news on Tuesday. The school board meeting highlighted the details of an estimated $80 million in cuts.

Information has been hard to get out of Fort Worth. The district only estimated losing somewhere around 2,000 positions and up to half could be teachers.

School board trustees are expected to approve an immediate hiring freeze on non-critical positions before the end of the meeting.

Administrators have purposely stayed away from openly speculating on job cuts, to avoid scaring teachers and parents.

Fort Worth ISD officials have vowed to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible.

Trustees have already discussed the elimination of 29 positions to include central office personnel, administrative support positions, assistant principals, and campus monitors.

The district may also offer $500 incentives to teachers for early retirement. Only about fifty teachers have opted to take the money and retire early.

Up to 1,000 more employees may have to be laid off to make up for a $30 to $80 million budget shortfall.

Young teachers, of probationary status, may be the first to be laid off.

"We would like to see those people who have been loyal to the district, made a commitment to the district, rehired before people who have never worked for Fort Worth are hired," said Larry Shaw, United Educators Association, Inc.

The United Educators Association proposed a return-to-work program with hope that job cuts that affect education will not last long.

Board members might also discuss a property tax increase. That would require voter approval and the earliest a vote could be taken would be this summer.

Email: jstjames@wfaa.com

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