Reason #2: Why your classes are so crowded and hard to manage
by Ann Sutherland on 11/23/18
Regular readers of this column will remember that the superintendent and cabinet took $30 million in services and staff away from the principals and have moved control over it into the central office. Part of this involved in stripping our secondary schools of nearly 250 teachers over the last two years.* Please note that existing plans involve taking another 100 core teachers over each of the next 3 years.
You also remember that President Jackson, First VP Sims and I voted against the budget because of this and because last year's budget was posted to have a $53 million deficit (per June 5, 2018 board presentation).
You saw at the last meeting that the 2017-18 audit was approved without a single comment from either staff or board members (I missed this meeting).
NOW WE LEARN from this silently-approved audit of the 2017-18 budget that there was actually a substantial surplus for 2017-18. Basically there is plenty for the 18-19 budget to operate with no reductions in secondary core staffing. In other words, the district's estimate of the 2017-18 fiscal year expenditures, showing a deficit, was off by $76 million, although the staff cut that to $53 million after they transferred $23+ million in bond funds.**
FWISD and other major districts' estimates of the necessary reserves dictate a reserve of two months' expenditures, which is $127 million. Ha ha. We now have $86 million extra in reserves.
Our budget office has been hiding money from the board at least from 2010, as I commented repeatedly even during my first campaign for the board. We have actually ended the year with surpluses, not deficits as the board has been told.
It's getting worse.
Think of that, parents and school site staff. They aren't even spending the money. Just keeping it.
*Teachers are budgeted at $65,000 per teacher; 65,000 X 250 = $16 million.
**Yes, bond funds. Think of this as you bemoan the extra money going to schools in your 2018 property taxes which you will be paying very soon.