Dallas Independent School District spokesman Jon Dahlander just called Unfair Park back to explain the figure on Page 14 of the summary of staffing formulas at DISD campuses for the 2009-'10 school year being discussed by trustees today. And while it looks as though the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts will lose 23 magnet teachers next school year -- from 26 to 3, says the document -- Dahlander says it will be about half that. Which, he acknowledges, "is still significant."
He's not sure why it reads as it does, but he wants to clarify: The district is being forced by the Texas Education Agency to trim staff. "We're up against this edict from the TEA, through the feds, that we have to fund our schools at 90 to 110 percent of the average per-pupil expenditure per school," he says. "It's an equity issue," one he says resulted from Fort Worth ISD's demand that the TEA hold all districts to the same standards following an audit of that district last year that resulted in FWISD losing positions.
Dahlander says that "around 13.5 positions will need to be cut" from the Arts Magnet. "Whether that means teachers or others is another discusson at another point. But that's the way it's being presented today" at the called board of trustees meeting, which has just returned from closed-door session, where it discussed either holding a special election or appointing trustees to deal with the Texas Attorney General's opinion concerning extending trustees' terms from three to four years.
"And it still could mean that school is a little different [next year] than it is this year," Dahlander says of the cuts at Booker T. Washington. "But the board is about to discuss this. ... And the reason we're discussing this now is because there is turnover in any school district, ours included. If we learn this now, we can find those teachers or other positions, as the case may be, a spot within the district. That way their talent is not lost forever. It's not like they would be removed from the district. We have every intention of finding them positions within the district."
Schutze will have more from this workshop later. But Ron Price said at the onset of the discussion that he has "a lot of concerns" over the staffing at Booker T. Washington.