Educators and students spent today, a day of spring break, to rally at the capitol in hopes of saving the sinking ship of education. They are calling on Governor Rick Perry to dip into the ’rainy day’ fund to plug a hole in the proposed budget cut to education that ranges in the billions of dollars. They also are asking the government to search for ways to raise more revenue for school districts and apply more federal assistance programs. In response to what is happening in the state legislation, Houston Independent School District is shutting down schools, scaling back on employees and dollar spent on students.
Last Friday HISD okayed a tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts. The cut equals out to $275 per student saving the district more than $58 million and a lay off of teachers equivalent to about six and a half per school. The district is predicting more than 1900 employees to loose their jobs.
Besides scaling back in the classroom, HISD is shutting down schools. Parents of Love Elementary School were notified at the beginning of March that the school would be shutting down. Three other elementary schools will be shutting down as well: Grimes, Rhodes, and McDade. These schools were chosen to shut down because there are less than 500 students in attendance and schools close by are able to take on more students. HISD estimates that closing the four elementary schools will save $1.7 million over the next school year.
These measures are an attempt to make up for the districts $171 million short fall. However; after shutting down the elementary schools and reducing funding, HISD is still staring at a gaping budget hole of $111 million.