At this very moment, the state Senate Committee on Education -- which includes chair Florence Shapiro, John Carona and Royce West -- is hearing testimony related to these seven Senate bills, most of which would let school districts increase class size and give teachers furlough days and further flexibility in order to offset some of the budget gutting necessitated by the state's shortfall. You can watch the hearing here (scroll down and get thee RealPlayer); so far so fascinating. And the reason I mention it: Among the parade of educators scheduled to speak to the committee is Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who is due up shortly.
Update at 10:50 a.m.: Hinojosa is testifying at this very moment, insisting, regarding class sizes, "We need some flexibility." Right now, says the super, "We're staffed at 19:1 average district-wide," and 21:1 would save $20 million, he says. (Hinojosa, however, doesn't want to grow student-to-teacher ratios at the unacceptable elementary schools.) If DISD can jump there, he says, that would allow for 30:1 in secondary schools -- which, he says, will presented in Version 2.0 Thursday morning.
He also pushes for salary reduction. One percent of payroll is $8.5 million; 10 percent is $85 million, and "that helps us manage." He says DISD trustees would likely ask for two, three percent reductions. And he'd like three, four days of furloughs, at least: "That's a bunch of teachers we don't have to lay off."