Job cuts could start next week at Dallas ISD




Posted on January 25, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 25 at 11:49 PM

DALLAS — Nearly 300 Dallas ISD employees could find out they are losing their jobs next week.

Those workers are all paid through federal stimulus funds, but that money dries up this year.

In 2009, the district received more than $100 million in federal stimulus money. A good chunk of that went to pay teacher salaries.

It's the second major blow for the district, which is also facing state budget cuts.

On Monday, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said his budget could be slashed by as much as $260 million. That could translate into more than 1,000 jobs, he said.

The shortfall is more than triple what the district faced in 2008, when it fired more than 400 workers — including 375 teachers — after accounting errors led to an $80 million deficit.

"We have seen budget cuts in the past in Dallas, as well as in other large districts, but this will be of historical proportions," said former Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Moses.

Moses was DISD's superintendent in 2001. He says the proposed cuts are expected to hit classrooms hard.

"The district will have no choice but to run up the class sizes in the middle, junior and high schools, and I think that's where parents and students will feel it the most," he said.

In addition to staff cuts, Dallas school officials have advocated for districts to gain the authority to enact furloughs. Hinojosa said he would ask for 10 furlough days to make up for lost funding.