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Local ISD Will Save Millions From Staff Cuts

Fort Worth ISD
Fort Worth ISD | Image by NBC DFW

Its recent move to let go of over 100 employees will save Fort Worth ISD more than $9.4 million, records show.

At least 112 staff members with an average yearly salary of $84,571 have been cut from Fort Worth ISD as part of a layoff plan announced by district officials in February. Records obtained by the Fort Worth Report showed that the restructuring impacted technology positions the most, with IT specialists and data analysts among those laid off.

As reported by The Dallas Express, Fort Worth ISD is not the only North Texas school district to announce staff cuts amid budget constraints, with Carroll ISD and Keller ISD both making similar moves. Dallas ISD, which spends more per student than most neighboring school systems, had a reported deficit of $186 million in December but has only announced cuts to unpopular high school programs so far.

When Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Angélica M. Ramsey first announced the district’s plan to streamline operations, it was to cover a significant $43.6 million budget shortfall for the 2024-2025 school year.

A resolution approved by the school board targeted 133 positions in total, the vast majority of which were being paid for by COVID-19 relief tax dollars, as Fort Worth ISD spokesperson Cesar Padilla told the Fort Worth Report. This amounted to a significant $261.6 million.

“Also, please note, as the process progressed, some positions may have been reconsidered or modified,” Padilla added.

The cuts are happening to help balance the district’s budget amid declining student enrollment. As extensively covered by The Dallas Express, the district’s student body has shrunk considerably over the past few years, resulting in roughly four dozen campuses coming in below 70% occupancy.

Fort Worth ISD has announced the closure of one campus — Wedgewood 6th Grade, which will be consolidated with Wedgewood Middle School — to trim the budget, per Fox 4 KDFW.

Much like at Dallas ISD, poor-performing schools have been behind parents opting to educate their children outside the district, although several factors are at play.

Fort Worth ISD saw just 32% of its students score at grade level on the STAAR exam during the 2021-2022 school year, according to the latest Texas Education Agency accountability report. Dallas ISD was also below the state average of 48%, with only 41% of students scoring at grade level on the STAAR exam that school year.

Meanwhile, the on-time graduate rate for both districts fell below the statewide average of 90%. FWISD managed to graduate 85.7% of its graduating seniors within four years in 2021-2022, while almost 20% of Dallas ISD’s graduating Class of 2022 did not graduate on time.

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