Operation Education: DISD board may declare financial emergency

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on March 10, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 10 at 6:43 PM

DALLAS- The Dallas Independent School District is considering declaring a financial emergency on Thursday.  

It is called "financial exigency" and is a pre-requisite to lay off contract workers, including teachers. Trustees would have to declare the emergency before taking the action.

The board used this action two years ago to lay off workers after a budget shortfall. 

Hinojosa said various funding bills in the Texas House would mean cuts ranging from $173 million to $210 million. The worst case forecast when the House budget bill was introduced was $253 million in cuts for DISD. The school budget bill in the Senate looks better with a possible cut of $86 million for the district.

Hinojosa explained the still bleak, although improved, outlook is from lawmakers considering spending some of the state's $9.4 billion rainy day fund and relaxing the K-4 grade student/teacher ratio of 22 to 1.

Hinojosa forecasted the district might need to make 3,900 layoffs under the previous extreme budget analysis. He will fill in board members shortly on how the revised budget cut numbers would presumably mean fewer layoffs.

Hinojosa cautioned board members that much can change in the ongoing budget discussions in Austin.

"I don't really know, but I hope that it would be at least cut in half and then to incorporate the number of people who have taken this early notification incentive that brings numbers down,' said Rena Honea, Alliance/AFT teachers union president. "So, i am very anxious to hear what the second version will say today with those things being included."

If the board goes forward with a financial emergency there are no clear solutions to what and who will lose out.

Email: bwatson@wfaa.com

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