What is the district’s response to the student protest and public outrage?
In a report with ABC local, on Thursday district officials said “they were treating the protest as a learning experience and didn’t plan to discipline the students.”
Things changed rapidly, as the school district said on Friday, “The grace period is over.” Citations for disruptions or truancy could begin as early as this Friday afternoon (April 15, 2011) .
In their first response from the administration parents and students are told, “The State of Texas is facing an education budget shortfall of as much as $10 billion over the next two years. This means that school districts all over the state will not receive a significant amount of money. For Katy ISD, we’re estimating a loss of approximately $50 million. However, by Texas law, we cannot reduce teacher pay to save jobs. And, by Texas law, we cannot use funds for new school buildings to pay teachers. This is why we have had to face the difficult task of cutting back on programs and laying-off staff members – both teachers and administrators.”
“Texas law requires us to notify teachers of their job status at least 45 days before the last day of school. So, even though the state has not announced a final dollar amount that will be cut from our schools, we are forced to make difficult staffing decisions before April 19. This deadline is what drove the announcements this week. These layoffs are necessitated by the projected shortfall in state financial support-not due to job performance.
He continues . . . “Our goal is to spread the cuts as much as possible so as to not severely impact the classroom, classroom support, student learning experiences and other services that have made Katy ISD one of the top school districts in our nation .” (Emphasis added)
“Please stay focused on your academics and finish strong in this last stretch of the 2011 school year.”
Honestly, I am not sure how KISD students are going to stay focused after seeing teachers pulled from the classroom to be notified that they were being laid off. While many left the building, others returned to their classroom to continue their lessons.
An email message from the principal of Morton Ranch today was short, not so sweet and to the point.
Quote from email message to parents and students, “Students’ voices have been heard and messages have reached the state leaders. Their point is appreciated and has been made. Behavior observed/occurring now on behalf of students in not peaceful or focused but disruptive and not safe. Further disruption of the school day will result in disciplinary action.”
State leaders have been quiet, so that could be why students feel they have not been heard.
Parents have many questions and suggestions including “What about the $469 million bond money?” “What about reduced salaries?” “Could administration simplify duties to reduce costs?” “Could student organizations or volunteers assist with administrative duties to reduce costs?” “What about our new schools?” and “Why did the superintendent receive a raise when the district is facing a budget shortfall?” Get these questions answered at the KISD communication website.
For more information on this topic
Exclusive photos of the Cinco Ranch High School Sit In Protest
The educational shortfall and how it affects KISD
What does the future hold for KISD and other schools?