A sign of tough times, a lone tweet by Express-News Reporter Veronica Flores may signal that Fort Worth ISD has decided to extend financial exigency. To quickly review what that term means:

  • Reduction in force…whether you are on contract or not, tenured or not, you lose your job.
  • Major change in academic programs (slim down, termination)

So, no fun for anyone. Having visited Fort Worth ISD as a consultant on several occasions, I’m thrilled at their educational technology efforts and I shudder to think what may happen.

I’ve shared my frustration with some local districts financial exigency declarations, as well as my concerns about the $11 billion dollar deficit Texas will have soon…which will definitely impact school systems.

On February 10, 2010, this source reported on the following:

Fort Worth to consider extending its financial state of emergency

Trustees are getting their first look at the 2010-11 budget that shows little new money for the district. Chief financial officer Hank Johnson said he will ask the board to vote on extending the district’s “financial exigency,” which is essentially declaring a financial emergency and is a required by the state if there is to be any reductions in force.

Trustees declared a state of financial exigency last year and cut about 100 positions, mostly campus monitors. The district is changing the time line of its fiscal year to begin on July 1 rather than Sept. 1 to catch one-time savings. Trustees are expected to vote on the declaration on Feb. 23.

It’s now February 23, 2010, and Veronica Flores (San Antonio Express News) is mentioning that FWISD may be there again.
The challenge is that school districts may be letting go of some of their best programs, people. Consider these two pieces of news shared at www.TexasISD.com:

Austin: School board OKs plan to cut programs, jobs

The Austin school board met past midnight Monday with a packed agenda that included controversial proposals to redraw school boundaries in Southwest Austin, possibly turn failing schools over to outside management and possibly declare the district in a state of impending fiscal crisis, which would allow Superintendent Meria Carstarphen to cut more than 100 positions. Trustees voted to move forward with an alternative to declaring a financial exigency. The alternative, first presented last week, would allow the superintendent to cut programs and the positions associated with them. “One of my concerns is that we really don’t know the fallout of financial exigency,” Trustee Annette LoVoi said. The vote was 5-3; Trustee Cheryl Bradley abstained. View Article ]   Feb 23, 2010, 08:38

Senate panel gets stark forecast on school finances

AUSTIN — School officials and education groups presented lawmakers with a somber picture Monday of rising costs and shrinking revenue, adding to the mounting budget pressures facing state officials in advance of next year’s legislative session. “Texas school districts are facing tough decisions unparalleled in my 20 years as a superintendent,” said Richard Middleton, legislative chairman of the Texas Association of School Administrators, to members of the Senate Education Committee. Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, the committee chairwoman, called the hearing to examine budget pressures and other issues facing school officials as lawmakers began mapping out legislative remedies for the 2011 session. View Article ]   Feb 23, 2010, 08:38

I still worry about NorthEast ISD in San Antonio, Tx and the cost-cutting efforts that nearly derailed the NorthEast School of the Arts (NESA).
Thanks to the hard-working efforts of educators, as well as reporters, getting the word out!

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure