Pasadena ISD hit hard by budget cuts

August 19, 2011 4:53:30 PM PDT
Some children have been dreading it all this summer. Next week, they head back to school. But for many Texas districts, this year will be much more difficult than last year. They will have to deal with fewer teachers and smaller budgets, and Pasadena ISD is no exception.

The changes will be subtle to students, but for teachers, the changes are massive. Their school day just got longer and that means less time for more responsibilities.

On Friday, we found the cheer squad perfecting their moves to be ready for the start of school. The same can be said for biology teacher Debbie McNabb. She's in the midst of preparing her class for Monday's start of school.

"When do you breathe?" we asked her.

"About 8 o'clock when I go home, sometimes," she replied.

And her day just got longer. Like every teacher at South Houston High School, McNabb will lose a conference period and in its place, teach one extra class a day.

"It's going to be much more tiring and when we make those phone calls home, it can't be done during the school day because we have limited time. So once again, more time after school and at home even," McNabb said.

South Houston High School was hardest hit in PISD by state budget cuts. The school lost funding for 20 teachers, which means the remaining teachers will have more responsibilities.

"How can you plan for your day if you're not given time to plan for your day?" we asked South Houston High School principal Dr. Steve Fullen.

"They still have a conference period in which they're expected to do lesson planning and contact parents and do those other things. It is going to mean that they're going to have to work additional times," he replied.

The school also lost their agriculture program. These are some of the tough decisions made throughout PISD, losing just over $17 million from the state. And cutting back this year doesn't mean the problem is fixed.

"So that problem hasn't been fixed. In two years, we're going to face the same battle unless the economy does a major rebound," PISD Superintendent Kirk Lewis said.

"Or the legislature makes some hard decisions?" we asked.

"Yes," he replied.

Despite the hardships, these teachers have another focus.

"Just the incoming kids, I mean it's always exciting to get a new group of kids in, fresh faces," teacher Teresa Jones said.

Agriculture students at South Houston High School will have access and transportation to ag programs at other campuses. And by making budget cuts this year, no cuts are expected next year.

The Pasadena school district begins their classes on Monday.


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