HISD has already decided to cut the amount of money given per student, per year to schools. Although a final decision has not been made, the district’s Jason Spencer says four schools — Grimes, Love, McDade and Rhoads Elementary with a combined enrollment of almost 1400 students — could see their doors close as well.
“We feel that these schools have become so small that they’re difficult to run efficiently. And that by dispersing those students to other nearby neighborhood schools, that they’ll have access to services that they just can’t afford to have at small schools.”
He says workshops and online resources are being set up to help teachers who might not have a job because of the budget cuts.
“There are critical teaching areas where we’re gonna have to hire. And we’re talking about math and science and bilingual teachers, who are always difficult to find. So there is a chance that with some of the teachers at these schools — if they were to close — that they could catch on somewhere else. But we know that at the end of the day, we will be employing fewer teachers than we do now.”
Meanwhile, 277 nonteaching positions will be cut from the central office. Spencer says the largest school district in the state is dealing with a budget shortfall of $171-million dollars.
“The current legislation that was just passed by the state House would cut us at least that deeply, if not more. I’ve seen some estimates that based on that bill that just passed the House that the cut to HISD could be well over 200-million dollars per year.”
He adds the district’s priority remains protecting classrooms from the cuts.