Richardson, Cleburne and Grand Prairie discuss school cuts

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WFAA

Posted on February 21, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 23 at 2:18 PM

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At least three North Texas school districts held budget-related meetings on Monday night.

Grand Prairie is facing a deficit between $15 and $26 million; Cleburne which needs at least $7 million; and Richardson is looking at between $20 and $54 million shortfall in state funding next year.

However, the Richardson district could face a deficit as low as $8 million, as they are currently projecting a surplus of $12 million in their 2011-12 budget, said Tim Clark, the director of communications for the district.

A long list of suggested cuts emerged from the Richardson ISD study session, including eliminating band and consolidating schools.

Athletic costs could be cut by getting rid of golf and gymnastics.

The district could save $4 million by freezing all salaries, and RISD is also considering closing the planetarium, Enterprise City and the environmental center.

Almost a thousand people showed up for Monday's school board meeting in Cleburne. There were so many people, the meeting had to be moved to the high school auditorium.

The Cleburne ISD board authorized the superintendent to start looking for specific cuts.

Besides layoffs, the district is now considering reductions in its gifted and talented program, fine arts and bilingual education.

But the most controversial cut the district is considering is closing one of Cleburne's seven elementary schools.

Dozens of teachers and staff plan to take their concerns to the Texas Legislature in a protest at the Capitol on May 12.

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