Anderson-Shiro CISD is removing 15 of its 117 positions for the 2012-13 school year, as Superintendent Brandon Core said the action was necessary in order to make up for an unexpected $366,000 shortfall in funding mostly caused by legislative cuts made last year. Since drastic cuts to all other line items in the budget were made last year, Core said personnel salaries, which account for 80 percent of the district’s operating budget, had to be reduced. Half the cuts were made for positions already left vacant during the current school year, some of which have already been absorbed by other staff members.
Though every area of the district was affected, Superintendent Core said the cuts were carefully analyzed so that students were least affected by the changes. A sole, non-traditional teaching position for content mastery that was created a few years ago by the Chapter 41 (property rich) school district was cut, totaling an 11 percent of the necessary reduction.
“We will still serve the students (in the area of content mastery) through other teaching staff,” said the superintendent.
The majority of reductions in staff were made to 4 administrative/non-teaching professional staff positions, accounting for 43 percent, followed by 31 percent from 6 paraprofessional/clerical staff positions and 15 percent from 4 auxiliary/support staff positions.
“In our effort to preserve the integrity of our educational program, we decided we would take a little bit from every area of the district. So we were able to affect teaching the least, which was our goal – to not directly affect students as much as possible,” said the superintendent.
Prior to last Tuesday’s special Board meeting/workshop, during which proposed reductions from administrators were presented and discussed, Core said the 6 to 8 staff members who will be affected were verbally notified and have been given the choice of resigning or being laid off. Official notification of layoffs will be made by this Thursday.
Last Wednesday, a district staff meeting was also held to further discuss the necessary reductions.
As administrators analyze reorganization of the entire school district, Superintendent Core said district program evaluations were also recently completed. Final decisions for redistribution of duties from positions that were removed will be made within the next few weeks.
Superintendent Core said, “We will continue to explore budget cuts to areas that do not involve personnel.”
The district is also researching ways to form an education foundation in efforts to raise additional education funding and is sending representatives to a national conference in Frisco, April 11-13.
ASCISD fights back
While ASCISD expects to receive 11 percent less in state funding for the 2012-13 school year, as compared to 2010-11 funding levels, Board members are sending a message to legislators by joining lawsuits against the state, over education funding, by various school districts, including Navasota ISD.
The superintendent said the legislative cuts equate to over $700,000 in revenue loss over a 2-year period - nearly $750 less per student - compared to the 2010-11 school year.
“During 2011, our state legislature made the decision to decrease funding for public schools, while mandates and accountability under a new standardized testing system have continued to increase; we decided it was time to formally make a stand. I feel the people in our district – in the last few weeks and especially days – are facing challenges I feel no one who is giving their life to education should be forced to experience in their career,” said Superintendent Core.
He continued, “While I feel it is extremely unfortunate that our legislature saw it appropriate to impact our public schools in this manner, we will do whatever we need to do in Anderson-Shiro to appropriately respond. And we will come together as a team and work collaboratively to continue to provide students at
Anderson-Shiro CISD the absolute best in public education.”
Superintendent Core is encouraging parents, community and staff members, who disagree with what has been done to Texas public schools, including ASCISD, to speak up about state education funding.
“Make your local legislators aware of your stance on Texas school finance and how you believe decisions made in the last Texas legislative session have impacted our schools. Voters should ask legislative candidates who are seeking election to these critical posts in our state their stance on issues affecting public education, such as finance, standardized testing, and accountability,” said Core.