Generally, Texas school districts need to lock down their school year budgets by about the end of April.
Of course, that’s not possible this year. As of this morning, it looked as though the Texas Lege could not agree on school funding, and they will have to return for a special session to set education budgets in June or July.
Can you imagine being the budget officer for a Texas school district?
But, sorta good news in Dallas: Budget officers, making their best guesses on what will happen, created Budget 5.0 (the fifth iteration of this process — one is usually all a district gets, or needs).
Here’s the message from Downtown on the school’s internal communication system:
Budget Plan 5.0 presented to trustees
Budget Plan 5.0 was presented to trustees today during a budget workshop. The administration is optimistic that this particular scenario, which envisions a $90 million cut in state funding to the district, will be closest to the final budget presented to the board for approval in June.
Here are some of the highlights of Budget Plan 5.0:
- No additional layoffs at the campus level will be necessary.
- There will not be an additional loss in the number of teaching positions. The early resignation incentive offered earlier in the spring cut enough from the payroll to make any additional loss of positions unnecessary. It must be noted, however, that some reassignments will need to occur to level campuses depending upon staffing needs.
- Full day pre-kindergarten for eligible Title I students, which has been a priority of the Board of Trustees, will be funded.
- Certain teacher stipends will be eliminated.
- Secondary schools will be staffed at a 27-1 class-size ratio, an increase over the current level of 25-1. While this is not ideal, it is preferable to earlier budget versions that included a 35-1 ratio.
Texas lawmakers remain gridlocked on the funding mechanism for schools yet have indicated an agreement in principle on the amount that will be available. The latest funding scenarios from the state give the district confidence to move forward with Budget Plan 5.0, with the possibility of some modifications, prior to its approval by the Board of Trustees in June.