Dallas schools superintendent on Texas budget: “Worse than initially projected”

January 21, 2011

$9.8 billion in cuts to Texas education.

If the Chinese did this to us, we’d declare war. When Gray Davis proposed much smaller cuts in California, Californians recalled him from office.

But it’s Rick Perry and the Republicans.  Can anyone think of a good reason to treat them better?

Recall petition on Rick Perry, anyone?

Here’s the reaction from Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa:

A message from Superintendent of Schools Michael Hinojosa

First Budget Numbers Look Grim

The Texas Legislature convened this week and provided the first look at how the state’s budget crunch could impact public education. Unfortunately, things do not look good, and that is putting it mildly.

In fact, the scenario that was presented is even worse than was initially projected. Prior to this week’s legislative session, budget analysts had predicted that public education statewide would undergo cuts of approximately $5 billion during the next biennium. The number just presented to the Texas House of Representatives is closer to $9.8 billion.

Right now, various programs that have been fully or partially funded through state grants such as prekindergarten, summer school, teacher performance incentives, and technology infrastructure are not included in the new budget. In addition, current estimates place cuts to Dallas ISD at a staggering $180-$200 million during the next two years. Because 85 percent of the district’s budget goes to personnel, this means that we will have to look at reducing payroll.

Please note that this memorandum is not written to cause a panic. It is important, however, for you to understand that the state’s budget outlook is anything but rosy and funding for education will likely be reduced. It is too early to speculate where cuts in payroll will need to take place, but everything will likely be on the table.

Next week, the Senate will present its version of the budget, and it will likely be similar. At this point, the House version does not include tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which is still an option to lawmakers. It may be a couple of months before a clearer picture will emerge of how public education will be impacted by the budget.

Please know that I will make every effort to keep you informed throughout the budget process. I also can assure you that our trustees and I will do everything we can to impress upon lawmakers the important work that you do for the children of the Dallas Independent School District.

Thank you for your continued work on behalf of Dallas ISD students.

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