Dallas ISD crunching budget numbers; outlook grim

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 25 at 10:12 PM

DALLAS — It's a grim outlook for the Dallas Independent School District: How to make up $256 million shortfall.

That's how much money the Dallas ISD stands to lose in the first Texas House budget draft.

It's a math problem that — so far — has no easy solution.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told News 8 "everything" is on the table. Experts say  Texas educators have never seen the kind of cuts that are projected this time around.

The numbers keep getting worse.

DISD is staring down the barrel of its worst budget cuts yet; a potential quarter-billion dollar shortfall in state funding that has it contemplating massive layoffs under what Hinojosa calls a "worst-case scenario."

By comparison, in 2008, DISD fired 375 teachers and 40 other staffers when accounting errors led to an $84 million headache.

The projections are now nearly triple that figure.

"We've never seen numbers like this. We've never seen an impact of this magnitude," said former DISD superintendent and longtime educator Michael Moses.

He said districts have placed everything on the table, including staff cuts, programs and extracurricular activities.

The impact to those remaining teachers and their students will be great.

"We'd have to have a significant increase in class size, no doubt about it," Hinojosa said.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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