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Fort Worth ISD Faces Big Budget Cuts

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX – The Fort Worth School District - the 5th largest in Texas - faces nearly a thousand layoffs given the current statewide budget crisis.

Fort Worth Superintendent Melody Johnson says expect severe cuts

Johnson: The most recent legislative proposal would mean a loss of $75-$80 million to the Fort Worth ISD over the next 2 years, and eliminates discretionary grants including the technology allotment, the pre-kindergarten grant, the math & science initiative as well as many others.

At last night's budget workshop, Johnson and school board members discussed cutting 30 central office workers, but included some coaches and assistant principals. Nothing's final. The district's Clint Bond says the goal is to avoid teacher cuts.

Bond: We're anticipating that we will be able to make the cuts we need to make, tough as they may be, without having to touch the classrooms.

Fort Worth is like every school district in the state as it negotiates tough budget choices. In addition to anticipated state funding cuts, the district faces a loss next year of up to $27 million because of a previous revenue freeze and growing expenses.

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Fort Worth's School District anticipates losing $25 to $40 million over the next 2 years, because of the state's severe budget crunch.

30 likely administrative layoffs could include some coaches, secretaries and assistant principals, Superintendent Melody Johnson says she's also looking at longer term money-saving plans.

Johnson: Could we, along with our surrounding districts, come together for purchasing, maintenance, technology services , professional development, finance service, can we look at some consolidations & cooperation and get better prices and better efficiences by doing that but still maintain autonomy of the individual districts?

Johnson says those options are at least a year away, but that's when the district expects to face close to a $30 million deficit before state funds are finalized. Johnson stressed all budget talks are still in preliminary stages. Fort Worth school's next budget workshop is in 2 weeks.

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