DeSoto ISD is considering laying off nearly 250 employees and possibly closing a school to solve some serious financial problems.
The district's proposal calls for nearly 250 positions to be cut. More than two-thirds of those jobs are teaching positions. The problem and some of the solutions do not sit well with parents and many staffers.
People at the Monday meeting received a packet answering questions about the budget cuts and job cuts and dispelling rumors. One of the things mentioned in this packet was a job fair for the 166 teachers expected to lose their jobs.
It wasn’t just parents telling DeSoto ISD school board trustees that the proposed budget cuts and job cuts are unfair. Several students showed up as well to express their opinions.
One parent said the students should be at home doing homework instead of at the school board meeting begging trustees to not cut their funding.
“It’s going to be harder for us to do what we love,” said DeSoto High School Senior Jonathan Toussah.
The school board will vote next week on whether to cut 166 teachers from the district. 246 positions are expected to be reduced in total in an attempt to save roughly $20 million.
In February, new Superintendent D’Andre Weaver announced that the district is millions of dollars in debt due to funds being mismanaged by previous administrators. Since then, administrators have come up with budget reduction strategies to “right the wrongs of the past.”
Jonathan Toussah is a member of the band. The district has already said a band position will be eliminated at each middle school.
“If funding does get worse, it’ll be much harder for us to really have fun or find band to be exciting or make it a true passion,” he said.
Shirley Shepler is also mad that her grandson, a kindergartener at Northside Elementary School, will have to attend another school next year because his school is closing due to funding shortcomings.
“This is the building blocks of these children. You don’t cut it,” she said. “Cut something else because there’s a lot of other stuff that we spend money for that is ridiculous. But don’t take it from the babies.”
“Go stand on a corner if you have to. Go beg for money. Go ask Jerry Jones. Go ask somebody for some money. Ask these churches,” one speaker said. “But you don’t put these children in a situation that they don’t need to be in. It’s not fair. It is not fair.”
The district was going to vote on the possible job cuts this week, but they pushed it back to next Monday to give teachers and staff more time to decide to retire or resign. So far, the district says they’ve received 40 resignations.
Trustees will vote April 29.