Dallas ISD's "Worst-Case Scenario" Not Nearly As Worst-Case As Originally Presented

When Dallas Independent School District Michael Hinojosa initially told the school board last month about the coming budget cuts that could result in the district laying off 3,100 on-campus full-timers and some 600 at 3700 Ross, he warned that under the so-called "worst-case scenario," the losses could add up to $253 million -- which would amount to "losses on the order of 20%." The best-case scenario wasn't much better: $168 Million, a 10-percent cut and still more than 2.5 times the 2008 shortfall of $64 million caused, the district said, by over-hiring teachers.

As mentioned below, the trustees will be presented on Thursday morning with what the super's calling "Preliminary Budget Reduction Plan Version 2.0," after which the trustees will approve a resolution that will "Declare a Financial Exigency and the Need for a Reduction in Force Affecting all Positions." But when I went to the district's website a moment ago to look for something else related to the coming cuts, I saw this heads-up about Thursday's briefing:

The revised plan will reflect an anticipated $150 million decrease in funding from the state, which is an improvement over the Feb. 10 "worst-case" projection of $253 million. The revised $150 million plan (Budget Reduction Plan 2.0) is dependent upon several assumptions that will be discussed at the meeting.

Dallas Friends of Public Education's Mike McNaughton said as much in a comment posted Thursday to the item about the rally at Arts Magnet:

I hear that the Administration is backing off its worst-case scenario citing a $50M savings in the recent incentives that paid teachers to resign (this $50M "savings" is a delusion and may actually cost the district $7M and some great teachers if the cuts can be made largely without touching teacher's jobs in a "better-case" scenario); a possible 20% ($50M) payment from the rainy-day fund; a possible 10% improvement in the shortfall ($25M) after the comptroller adjusts the state budget numbers; and a probable $50M from a federal jobs bill. As Dandy Don Meredith used to say, "If wishes and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas."
McNaughton, incidentally, has been appointed by trustee Bruce Parrott to serve on the Citizens' Budget Review Commission, which is supposed to begin meeting this month. Anyway. I asked DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander if he could elaborate on the announcement. He writes: "The revised figure is based on a few assumptions that will be outlined on Thursday to trustees." And that, as they say, is that. For now.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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