TAG funding cuts: DISD’s board sharpens the axe

Significant cuts in DISD’s TAG and magnet programs still look like they’re on the way after Tuesday’s school board meeting, according to the DMN. As discussed earlier here at Back Talk, the district recently found out that if it funds any one school within DISD at a ratio that’s 10 percent greater than comparable schools, it risks losing Title 1 federal funds — in this case, upwards of $105 million.

So unless something dramatic and unexpected occurs, DISD needs to cut funding at 31 campuses to make sure all schools in the district are being funded equally. Booker T. Washington High Schol for the Performing and Visual Arts could lose as many as 13 employees, while Spence TAG could lose up to 29 employees, according to the DMN story; it’s unclear how many of the employees would be teachers. And it appears no one will lose his/her job; instead, they’ll be reassigned to other DISD schools.

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The magnet programs were set up as part of a court desegregation order 40 years ago; as of a couple of years ago, DISD is no longer under court supervision, and the overall integration of the district (in terms of minority-majority enrollment) has ceased to be much of an issue anymore. So the board, despite obvious disagreements allong racial lines concerning the cuts, appears backed into a corner on this one.

"I’m grateful that this is before us because we’ve had our own internal Robin Hood system," trustee Edwin Flores is quoted telling the DMN about the funding disparity. "It’s about time that we bring fairness to the system."

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It appears the board will vote sometime in the next few weeks about how to address the situation.

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