We want to bring you up to date on the budget process. We understand there is a lot of anxiety about the state funding crisis and its impact on our District. This continues to be a grave concern. We face a projected $41M shortfall this year alone. However, through careful budgeting and thoughtful reorganization, we believe we have a plan that will best serve our instructional needs and our District’s fiscal future. Best of all, this plan is the one that’s best for our students.
The District is still reviewing staffing ratios and reorganization possibilities, but it appears that as many as 84 employees will be laid off in the next few weeks. Another 129 currently vacant jobs will be eliminated.
Among those immediately affected are 21 library clerks, 7 PE assistants, 38 teacher assistants, auxiliary staff who were not tied to particular programs as well as an additional 18 teacher assistants funded through Title 1.
The Division of Human Capital Management will work closely with these individuals to provide support, including giving them access to a job fair in June that will be attended by 90 local employers.
We will not lay off any Fort Worth ISD teachers.
Over the past two years, 113 central office positions and 251.5 campus positions have been eliminated from the District payroll. Many of the recently eliminated central office positions have been vacant for the better part of a year and, as a result, represent additional savings for that time period.
And, out of this challenge there is some good news about our budget process.
First of all, we are working in unprecedented collaboration. For months, every Cabinet and Executive Staff meeting has included discussion about the budget. Then, last week, a group of district administrators representing every division and department has been working together – in the same room over long hours – to review each school’s master schedule to ensure efficiencies and meet student needs.
As a result of this effort, we believe we are going to maximize how we utilize existing faculty and minimize the number of teachers whom we hire from the outside. With the exception of special situations (for example special education or bilingual), we hope to ensure that we will look within for all teaching needs.
This is not a one-time deal. From now on, the Fort Worth ISD budget calendar will no longer be just a finance calendar but instead a planning calendar that takes into account student schedules, staffing and budget activity. All of these processes will now be interdependent rather than independent.
This is part of the “Singleness of Purpose” we must all embrace in order to be successful.
We will take our recommendations to the Board and a final budget will be adopted by the Board in June.
Walter D. Dansby
Fort Worth ISD Superintendent