Dallas ISD Touts Plan To Cut Spending

Dallas ISD Administration Building
Dallas ISD Administration Building | Image by Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD officials are seeking ways to cut its budget as it faces a significant shortfall.

The district’s board of trustees adopted a budget of $1.8 billion for the 2023-2024 school year. This budget is a 7.4% increase from the previous year’s, and The Dallas Express reported that the budget for next term is projected to hit around $1.9 billion.

In Dallas ISD’s April 11 news release, “proactive measures” on the part of officials aim to stretch the basic allotment of $5,800 per student received by the state despite increasing inflation and no additional funding.

The district said it was “actively taking steps to minimize disruptions to the learning environment,” per the press release, including looking at redundancies in student offerings.

“If a health pathway is available at a Career Institute serving six comprehensive high schools, it’s redundant to maintain individual health pathways at each school,” Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said in the release. “We’ll equip and fund the Career Institute with high quality and up-to-date equipment instead of poorly funding 22 comprehensive high schools.”

Elizalde added, “Money will never be an excuse in Dallas ISD for not providing our students with a safe, quality education.”

As covered by The Dallas Express, North Texas public school systems have cited considerable budgetary shortfalls amid a “perfect storm” of stagnated state spending on public education, new state mandates for security, higher costs due to inflation, the need for competitive teacher pay, and shrinking student enrollment figures.

Dallas ISD is projecting a student body of 137,529 next school year, a considerable drop from the 157,575 student enrollments logged in 2011-2012.

Lackluster academic results are a specific district weakness. The latest accountability report from the Texas Education Agency shows that only 41% of Dallas ISD students scored at grade level on the 2021-2022 STAAR exam, and almost 20% of the class of 2022 failed to graduate within four years.

Dallas ISD’s 2024-2025 budget has already been discussed at five community meetings and two workshops. At the most recent workshop on April 2, officials discussed rightsizing measures for programs and staff allocations, including increasing the minimum teacher salary from $61,000 to $62,000.

The latest figures put the proposed budget falling roughly $186 million short.

A final version of the proposed 2024-2025 budget will be presented to Dallas ISD school board trustees in May.

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