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WFISD Could Cut Some Personnel, Programs

Wichita Falls Independent School District officials are proposing cutting dozens of jobs and school programs in the next two years.
    The Wichita Falls Independent School District continues to try to make ends meet, and overcome funding cuts.
    Dr. Tim Powers, WFISD assistant superintendent, says, "We're in the process now of identifying low-mandated programs that have been a luxury for our district that we need to now consider whether or not we need to keep them or eliminate them so we can provide additional revenue for the expenses that we do have."
    Proposed cuts for the upcoming school year include district-funded summer school, costs for certain exams including AP and IB Exams, and the eliminations of choice busing, when student gets bused to schools other than their home school.
    Estimated savings would be about $850-thousand.
    Proposed cuts for the 2013-2014 school year include dozens of employee positions.
    Those include having only one district librarian with one full-time para-professional running the library at each school campus, reducing to half day Pre-K programs, and reducing the number of counselors or social workers at elementary schools.
    That would be an estimated savings of more than $3.5 million, bringing total savings to nearly $4.5 million.
    This would allow the board to award teachers and staff a 3% salary increase, which they didn't receive last year.
     Reginald Blow, a WFISD School Board member, says, "We're going to have to make some tough choices.  This is all across the state: Dallas, Lubbock, Crockett, Paris.  They're all closing schools because of the financial crisis that we have."
    Dr. Powers says right now, these are only proposed areas to cut.
    He says hopes the school board looks over these recommendations.
    He also wants to meet with department head to see if there are any other areas where they can cut funds.
    "No decision on any of these proposals has been made," he says.  "That's certainly up to the board.  I think it's incumbent upon the district to be good stewards of our finances.  We need to take a good, hard look at all of these."
    The board will re-visit these recommendations during the August 2 budget work session.
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