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DISD's $64 Million Budget Shortfall Caused By "Inadequate Budgeting"

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Intern Courtney's at 3700 Ross Avenue this very moment, where district officials have indeed confirmed a sudden $64-million shortfall -- in the 2007-'08 budget. How'd this happen? Well, see, it's "complicated," said superintendent Michael Hinojosa, the result of having more teachers and support staff in the schools. "The majority of the deficit was caused by inadequate budgeting," Hinojosa says in a media release handed out moments ago. "More money was allocated to campuses to hire additional staff last school year, and we saw impressive student gains as a result. The cost of the additional staff, however, was not property reflected in the budget."

He said "within the next 30 days" district officials will create a plan to make sure this doesn't happen again next year. But starting immediately, the finance department will report directly to the chief of staff, Arnold Viramontes. As for whether anyone's getting fired or suspended over this, Hinojosa said he isn't commenting on personnel matters -- at least, not until he has to, because he will have to. Alas, not to worry, right? Because that $64 million will be coming out of a $120 million "fund balance," or district reserves. But the district wants to "show the taxpayers that our children are learning," Hinojosa said. I should hope so. --Robert Wilonsky

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