DISD budget crisis: Fire everybody and start over?

Interesting post by Robert Wilonsky of the Observer today about the OK Corral-style showdown at DISD’s board meeting Friday. Top topic: The $64 million budget shortfall, possibly declaring a "financial state of emergency" at DISD, and a review of Michael Hinojosa’s job performance (this one’s behind closed doors). The story links to a DISD organization chart, which is about as confusing as you would expect for a company with 20,000 employees (for now), but if you want to get a sense of at least some of the public’s sentiment, check out the comments at the end of the blog.

Many of the respondents here are calling for DISD board members to hang their heads in shame and resign, too. One problem with that: Who’s going to replace them? Those few of us who vote in the DISD elections know that very often, incumbent board members face no opposition because this is a 100 percent volunteer, absolutely-no-pay position — and it’s a job that takes literally a full week’s worth of work every week. Listening to parents complain about who doesn’t like little Johnny at school is just the start of it; the trustees also need to keep up with the budget, with personnel moves and everything else that goes with governing a 160,000-student district.

The people who are thirsting for blood right now need to step up and run for school board trustee next time — we need more good people on the board. The great thing about running for a DISD trustee job (as opposed to mayor or city council, for example) is that it doesn’t even take much money; $10,000 or $15,000 is more than enough, and if you have a few faithful friends, you can probably avoid tapping your own wallet. So there’s really no excuse if you think you have the solution to all of DISD’s problems: Run for office and solve the problems yourself. And if you don’t want to run (too busy, can’t afford it, whatever), it’s probably time to watch what you’re saying.



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