HISD holds first of several public budget meetings
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- HISD is holding a series of budget meetings with the public over the next couple weeks called Community Conversations. The idea is to get parents and students ready for millions of dollars in cuts so they're not blind-sided when they actually happen.The district is under pressure to cut its $1.6 billion budget amid a projected shortfall in state funding. The state budget shortfall is between $15 and $27 billion.
About three-dozen people gathered at the Chavez High School auditorium to hear a presentation and then ask questions. Most were very specific to their student's school or needs.
The problem is the district doesn't yet know how much its funding will be reduced as a result of the state's budget shortfall so there were very general answers and not everyone was comforted by them.
"Start from the top; don't take it from our children that are trying to make good grades and trying to make something of their lives," mother Frances Rincon said.
"We're going through department by department to try and make the reductions that we have to make so that we don't affect the class," HISD School Board Member Manuel Rodriguez said. "We don't want to touch teachers; we don't want to touch supplies; we don't want to increase the student ratio between students and teachers, but until we know how much the exact shortfall is going to be then we can't react on how much we have to cut."
Rodriguez says HISD doesn't want to touch class sizes, teachers, pre-K programs or magnet schools, but in an interview earlier this month, HISD Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett told us the amount of cuts, which no one has an exact figure, will be big and cannot be absorbed solely at the administrative level.
The district spends about $16 million a year on its 113 magnet programs, excluding transportation.
A recent report, commissioned by HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and the school board, recommended eliminating funding for 55 magnet programs and ending free busing for many students who transfer to the campuses.
Another option is something called right-sizing, which could close under-populated schools and move students around, which some worry will throw off the student-to-teacher ratio and affect learning.
HISD must adopt a budget by June 30.
Here is a list of all the locations and dates where the hearings will be held:
Visit Houstonisd.org to learn more.
Houston isd, local, jessica willey
- Mystery shipwrecks explored off Galveston 39 min ago
- Woman ambushed while taking out trash
- Here's a reason to lock doors while pumping gas
- Teen reunites with family after being found safe
- Live: Watch Eyewitness News live now
- Prostitution sting nets 5 arrests in NW Harris County
- Williams in talks to reprise 'Mrs. Doubtfire' role 23 min ago
- Obama: 8 million signed up for health care
- Teen accused of threatening attack on Splendora HS
- Police: Man ate pot candy before shooting his wife
- Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant
- Student caught with gun on campus 55 min ago
- Man shimmies through burglar bars at tattoo parlor
- Photos: Know any of Harris Co.'s featured fugitives?
- Tim Heller's weather forecast
8 min ago
- Students prep for national robotics...
59 min ago