HISD could be facing more job cuts
HOUSTON Houston ISD officials are trying to figure out how to handle a big budget shortfall without affecting the classroom. It probably means job cuts, but HISD's administration says no cuts in the classroom, no cuts to transportation and no cuts in security. However, between now and June, they need to find a way to make up a $30-40 million shortfall. HISD's budget for next school year is still in its preliminary stages, but already, the numbers aren't adding up. "Right now, we've identified about $30-40 million of needed cost," said HISD Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett, who's balancing the district's more than $1.5 billion budget. Next year, there's a projected $8 million teacher pay increase, as much as a $1 million rise in the water bill, and a $10 million jump in the cost of health insurance, Garrett said. The state also gave the district money last year but not this year. "Every day, we find new things that we have to keep adding to the list," she said. One parent ABC 13 spoke with outside Bellaire High School says the district shouldn't be facing a deficit at all. "Nothing should be cut," mother Lorna Correos said. "It's not good for our children's future." Another parent took a more wait-and-see approach. "It's going around," father Lonnie Smith said. "Everyone seems to be going through cuts. It's a difficult time because of the economy. I'm not surprised." Two alternative schools run by a private company could be on the chopping block as well as dozens of central administration jobs. "If we absolutely have to keep cutting over a number of years, at some point, it might hit the classroom," Garrett said.