EPISD explains plan for budget deficit

KDBC
Friday, April 25, 2014 - 7:42pm

El Paso Independent School District unveiled more details today, about their plan to eliminate a $17 million dollar budget deficit.
The district said it was caused by two things, an overly ambitious attendance estimates and a declining student population.

"I think the district was still hoping with the growth of Fort Bliss they would continue to grow again so they were projecting the average daily attendance which is the ada number at a fairly positive high number, anticipating the growth. But that didn't happen," said Tom Miller, chief of staff at EPISD.

Over the past four years, EPISD lost almost 3,300 students. The average student brings in about $5,500, which means the loss is more than $17 million.

"And then all of a sudden they suffered a big decrease and then another good size decrease so I think that just caught the district by surprise," Miller said.

"It's disappointing," said Lucy Clarke president of El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel.

As of now, there are no cuts being proposed to faculty.
However, 172 teachers will be displaced, up from earlier estimates of 131. This means positions at some schools will be cut, and teachers will be shuffled to different schools.

"We want to reiterate that our teachers are not losing their positions. they are moving another location for the next school year," said Robert Almanzan, associate superintendent of human resources.

They said displacement is something that happens every year. The district expects many teachers will also retire this year, which will help with the problem.
Educators however, are worried the cuts will affect the quality of education, especially when it comes to teacher student ratios.

"While on paper it will be 21 to 1, 22 to 1. When they add in all of the classes, divide it by the number of teachers, divide it by the number of students on an individual basis. It will not be that. it can be as high as 35, 40 to one," Clarke said.    

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