Spring ISD considering cutbacks

March 30, 2010 4:59:26 PM PDT
They spent nearly $400,000 on luxurious trips for administrators. Now, the Spring School District is considering cutbacks that may have librarians losing their full-time jobs. We've been tracking Spring ISD's expenses for years, and while they've found the money to pay for those pricy trips and even for consultants who charge $4,000 a day, librarians now say the district does not have enough money to pay their salaries.

As Wayne Dolcefino and 13 Undercover reported last October, in one summer, Spring ISD spent nearly $400,000 of your tax dollars on trips for its administrators, trips to luxury resorts like The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, it also spent $1 million on consultants in just 18 months.

Now, its 35,000 students could pay the price. The district is dealing with a $10.6 million budget shortfall and sources tell Eyewitness News all the elementary librarians have been told they could lose their full-time jobs, and be hired back, only part-time next year. Some parents say that's not right.

"I wouldn't like that, them doing it like that. Cause the kids need the library and the teachers and all that stuff here," said parent Rona Turner.

"I mean I don't see why the point of it would be," said parent Joseph Bowen.

This is the same school district that sent 400 teachers on a cruise to learn how to play chess, so the teachers could teach the game to their students. The chess program cost nearly $390,000. Parents say learning to read is a lot more important.

"As far as I'm concerned, I don't think that's a good idea. The kids need people there to guide them to what books they want to look for and what books they need to learn," said parent Tonya Pate.

Parent Irene Bernal said, "I mean what would that mean to the kids? Would they cut the kids' library time as well?"

The superintendant says the district is now looking for ways to cut costs without cutting services to students, but the potential impact on librarians isn't sitting well with parents.

"That would bother me a lot. You know how hard it is to get kids to go to a library outside of school?" said Pate.

The district declined to talk to us on camera, but in a statement said, "During this budgeting process, various options are being studied and discussed. After the district has considered all the options, a budget will be presented to the Spring ISD board of trustees."

We're told that vote takes place on June 29, but the district would not tell us what departments could be affected.


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