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DALLAS - For the first time in three decades, the Dallas Independent School District is considering closing campuses.

We want to be able to provide the best education for our kids but we also have to be fiscally responsible for our kids, said trustee Nancy Bingham.

The legislature left lingering problems at school districts across Texas as it slashed the state budget.

Lawmakers decided to send Dallas ISD $38 million less next school year.

To offset that, DISD trustees now propose closing eleven schools, 10 next year and one the following year.

Some campuses are more than a century old and most are elementary schools. They are: City Park, Arlington Park, Julia C. Frazier, James W. Fannin, Phyllis Wheatley, James B. Bonham, N.W. Harllee, O. M. Roberts and H.S. Thompson.

Two middle schools, D.A. Hulcy and Pearl C. Anderson, are also recommended for closure.

It's not an easy decision and I don't take it lightly, explained Bernadette Nutall, Trustee.

But closing campuses doesn't solve the entire fiscal problem facing the district.

More than $26 million must be slashed elsewhere and the district's largest teachers union, Alliance AFT, expects job cuts to be next.

People may be losing their jobs, said Rena Honea, President, Alliance AFT. I don't know what departments, where that will come from, what it will look like but I think that is definitely a real possibility.

As campus closures loom, the board still discussed spending money Thursday night.

An item on the board's agenda proposed shelling out more than $19-million dollars for new computers over the next three years.

Critics complained it is a wasteful idea at a time when the district needs to cut costs.

The board will discuss the campus closures proposal again in a few weeks.

It will also schedule public hearings so opponents can make their case before trustees come to a final decision on which campuses to close in about 60-days.

Also recommended for cuts, were the district s custodial division and the H.V.A.C. department.

E-mail: bshipp@wfaa.com

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