DISD’s board voted Thursday to schedule a Nov. 3 special election for voters to elect three trustees — positions currently held by Ron Price, Leigh Ann Ellis and Edwin Flores, according to the DMN. Last night’s vote came without discussion and reverses an earlier board decision to skip the regularly scheduled board election that was to be held May 9. The new election date came after the Texas Attorney General ruled that the trustees’ earlier decision to extend their board terms by a year, in a move to have four-year board terms instead of the current three-year terms, was illegal.
Meanwhile, the board tabled action on the much-discussed funding cuts for 34 district magnets/TAGs and learning center schools, pending further review of the funding situation by the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education, the News reports. DISD had been ordered to equalize per-pupil expenditures at the magnets and learning centers or forfeit more than $100 million in federal Title 1 funding after the TEA discovered that magnets and learning centers receive higher per-pupil funding than comparable neighorhood schools.
DISD was told earlier this week that magnet schools may be exempt from the "equal funding" requirements, but DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa has told trustees that he wants to make funding cuts at those schools, too. (Magnets and TAGs offer special educational programs and generally have lower teacher-pupil ratios; they also have have a competitive enrollment process, meaning that everyone who applies isn’t accepted, while neighborhood schools are required to take all-comers living within their attendance boundaries.)
Hinojosa is proposing 192 staffing cuts at the learning centers and 102 cuts at the magnets/TAGs — teaching positions included in the cuts will be transferred to other schools in the district. A DISD board decision on the cuts is on-hold while the Department of Education and TEA require current funding and report back to DISD with their funding assessment.
For additional background on the issue, click here to see the discussion on Back Talk.