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Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/3/18 17:00:00 (2931 reads)

Open in new windowOn Monday, March 21st, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees will consider approving a resolution offering up to 500 employees an incentive of 10% of their salary for a year to resign.

The district is facing a funding shortfall of up to $75 million, due to the Texas Legislature sabotaging the funding system in 2006, and replacing local property tax funding with a franchise tax that has failed to live up to promised revenue. The state stands poised to majorly renege on its funding obligations in the coming biennium.

LISD's budget for 2010-11 showed a full-time employee count of 5,749, of which 3,743 are teachers, and 507 directly support the classroom. Other large categories of employees are School Administration (principals and clerks), 471; Guidance and Counseling, 260; Instructional Resources and Media Services, 92; General administration, 106; Maintenance, 129; Computer Processing, 76.

Over the past year, the district has frozen hiring in administration, and has taken numerous steps to get more lean, and has dipped into its reserve fund banked up in prior years when tax revenues were higher. Trustees had hoped to narrow last year's gap by increasing property tax rates from $1.04 to $1.06, but voters rejected that increase after anonymous mailers went out asserting that administrative overhead was to blame for the district's financial troubles. TEA data actually showed that LISD was in line with other districts, having smaller general administration expenses.

Dr. Waddell has previously expressed that any cuts would include employees in administration and other areas as well as in the classroom. If a proportionate number of teachers take this early resignation program, LISD could shed 326 teachers. Even this amount of jobs slashed would not come close to covering a $75 million worst-case deficit. State legislators have recently reached a tentative agreement to use some of the "rainy day fund" to shrink the state budget gap, but unless the state finds more revenue, even that step will leave the state unable to fulfill its obligation to fund public education.

Being unable to fulfill financial obligations is known elsewhere as bankruptcy, but Texas Governor Rick Perry wears this as a badge of honor.

More later...

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 12:42  Updated: 2011/3/21 12:44
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
What needs to happen is the cuts should be coming from the top. Pushing million $ bonds on those that live in LISD so we can have state of the art stadiums, a 9th grade center that even the board has no clue what to do with it, but yet we want to cut staff... makes alot of sense people! We need to look at the pockets being filled by many adminstrators and take care of our teachers and students, they are #1 priority. Our taxes are ridiculously high and you want more when we are all struggling with less. Give me a break, thank goodness for homestead exemptions to get the tax break from such a money hungry district.
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/3/21 12:56  Updated: 2011/3/21 12:56
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
I suspect that some of the cuts will come from top levels of administration, but I do want to point out that even if we cut ALL of general administration, and make the teachers cut their own paychecks and other administrative things, we still wouldn't put a dent in the deficit that the State Legislature has designed for us.

Aside from general administration, we have other support staff that is needed to support teachers and comply with unfunded state mandates. A friend of mine wrote an excellent article explaining why you need these other staff EVEN MORE at this particular time.

The funds for buildings all come from bonds, which are paid back through the Interest and Sinking (I&S) fund, which has its tax rate set based on what the voters approved. But under state law, even if we stopped building, that money cannot come back into operations to pay for teacher salaries.

The legislature has stuck us in a position where in order to get more money for operations, we would have to go to the voters for a tax increase, but most voters don't understand the difference between the two funds.

It is unfortunate that the building that took place based on the bond package, which was engineered by the old Superintendent and certain old board members, came across as wasteful and as giving undue focus on athletics. It's done the district no service, because plenty of people like yourself see it as something that could be undone and solve the problem.
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kjudk1955
Posted: 2011/3/21 13:20  Updated: 2011/3/21 13:20
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Joined: 2007/4/26
From: Lewisville, TX
Posts: 87
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
You are 100% correct, Steve. Whatever faults the school board, past and present, may have possessed or exhibited, the effects of its shortcomings are nothing compared to the fiscal storm that's coming down on us from the state.

A two-cent tax increase will no longer cut it. We will either need massive property tax increases for O&M, or cut deeply into the public education provided to our kids. Or find a middle ground in between. There are no good choices here on the local level, and this one's not the fault of the school board.

If we want a decent level of education for our children, we need to be swamping our state reps and senators with calls demanding they raise whatever taxes are necessary to fund education, for both the public school system and for higher education. This is truly a crisis, and our state leaders are criminally neglecting their most important duties. And some of them (our governor for example) are being downright smug about it.

Thank for clearly explaining the difference between the capital and operations budgets, and pointing out that they can't be mixed.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 14:05  Updated: 2011/3/21 17:03
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Thanks so much Steve for your good explanation on finances. Here is a good video that explains Texas Public School Finance from Arlington ISD. http://www.aisd.net/video/10-11_Specials/2010_Finances.html

More local citizens need to understand this financing issue. I hope that we can encourage more people to increase their knowledge of Texas School Finance and to also contact their local legislative representatives. This is important to the future of Texas!
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/22 7:25  Updated: 2011/3/22 8:33
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Please be careful with the word ALL. Because of the classification system you just suggested that I be layed off. I am secretary, but not on campus so I am in the administration payroll classification. I assure you if it were not for my husband's pay I would be considered poverty level.

Thank You
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/3/22 8:40  Updated: 2011/3/22 8:40
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
My "all" was just a hypothetical. Of course we realize the need for administration - both general and campus. The point was that some people try to dismiss the problem by saying "we should cut administration". There's not enough cuts we could possibly do in administration to make a dent in this shortfall.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 14:30  Updated: 2011/3/21 17:03
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
What are the rules about donations to the school district? I know Castle Hills has the donation program back to schools that support the kids in their area, pk, do you know the ins and out of that? How about a grass roots giving campaign. in addition to giving $10 to the red cross to help Japan, lets give $10 to texas education fund. Sign me up!!
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 17:18  Updated: 2011/3/21 21:01
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
When I have asked before about donating money to a school, unless there is a specific fund that the school is collecting for they have asked the donated money to go to PTA. If you designate the funds to a specific purpose in the memo field of your check, the PTA has to set that money aside for the purpose noted.
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PKelly
Posted: 2011/3/22 9:15  Updated: 2011/3/22 9:15
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Joined: 2010/2/14
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Posts: 185
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
I forget what exactly the foundation is - but I know what you are talking about. I think it's called the Castle Hills Foundation (or something similar). If you go into Killian you can see a big (size-wise) check signed by Chris Bright made out to Killian in the trophy case. I'm not sure how this works exactly because the concept of donating money to Castle Hills Elementary to fund salaries came up at a PTA meeting a few years ago. We were told it would be unfair to the other schools in the district to basically pay teachers salaries from private donations so it was not legal.

I’m not sure what the foundation money is used for exactly – I can find out though… jehinger is also a CH parent – he very well may have an answer ready and posted before I get back here!
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/23 12:06  Updated: 2011/3/23 13:24
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
The Castle Hills Schools Foundation is funded by a 0.5% fee assessed on all property sold in Castle Hills. Each year, the CHSF board determines how much is to be distributed, and that amount is divided by the number of school-age children in Castle Hills to get a per-student amount. The principal and staff at the schools receiving funds put together a list of requests and submit them to an advisory board made up of parents from the school. The advisory board reviews the requests and then requests a check from CHSF to cover the items that are approved. Because of the amount of the donation, it must be formally approved by the school board. Items paid for by the Castle Hills Schools Foundation funds include technology items (SmartBoards, computer equipment, etc.), library books, science lab supplies, classroom supplies, teacher training, and student field trips/programs.

There is a Lewisville Education Foundation (http://lisdef.com/) that accepts donations and uses them to fill teacher grants. Perhaps this program can be expanded to provide items for the schools which could free up district resources for teacher salaries, etc.
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Poster Thread
PKelly
Posted: 2011/3/23 17:40  Updated: 2011/3/23 17:40
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Thanks a bunch for the information! That was great! I wonder if it would be possible to pass a similar measure in Lewisville (a percentage of sold property).
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/3/23 17:52  Updated: 2011/3/23 17:52
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Is it done by law, or by deed restriction / covenant? I bet the Realtors associations would fight you on any attempts to legislate it.
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PKelly
Posted: 2011/3/23 20:39  Updated: 2011/3/23 20:39
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Joined: 2010/2/14
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
It's certainly not done by law. Probably deed restriction. There is also a percentage that goes to a college scholarship fund of some sort.

You're probably right about the realtors taking issue. I guess when this was the wild west out here it was put in place from the begining. Probably next to impossible to do it post-facto.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/23 18:04  Updated: 2011/3/24 1:07
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
If people are willing to do this or to donate money, why didn't they pass the tax initiative? If it was a tax, everyone would share the burden but if it is donation or part of sold property only those that donate or those that sell property give money. Did the people that worked so hard to defeat the tax initiative ever think through what they were doing?

I am betting that this a a community association thing in Castle Hills that can't be implemented for the City of Lewisville or the school district. And, if it were put into law by the city or school district, how does it differ from a tax increase other than it just penalizes those that are selling property. PTAs, by the way, have always served the role of purchasing "extras" for the schools. I've seen books, computers, reimbursement for supplies for students, etc. reimbursed by PTAs. The PTAs get the money by donation or fund raisers. The only problem with this is that poorer schools don't have the deep pockets to draw from for fund raisers as wealthier schools. But, again, if you are willing to purchase the overpriced junk from the Christmas store or the take order catalogs, why didn't people support the tax initiative?
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Poster Thread
PKelly
Posted: 2011/3/21 17:27  Updated: 2011/3/21 17:27
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Joined: 2010/2/14
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
At the risk of someone misinterpreting these comments as anti-teacher or pro-big classroom, I’m wondering what the savings really would be if 326 teachers took the incentive. Again, just roughing this out and not taking a stance either way yet, I’m guestimating the savings at around $19,000,000.

Assuming average salary of $42,000 (http://www.payscale.com/research/US/All_K-12_Teachers/Salary) and, at least in the business world, throw on another 25,000 for health care, 401k matching, various employee taxes, etc. and you’re looking at $65,000 * 326 = $21,190,000. Subtract $1,956,000 for separation incentive (6k * 326) and that about $19,000,000.

Is there an official estimate? Someone must surely have one before they released the incentive plan.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 20:06  Updated: 2011/3/21 21:02
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
25K for benefits for a teacher? No way. The district offers no 401K matching and pays approcimately $375 a month for health insurance and about $1 or so a month for 10K of life insurance.
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PKelly
Posted: 2011/3/22 7:13  Updated: 2011/3/22 7:16
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Posts: 185
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Really? I thought teacher retirement was funded above and beyond monetary compensation. If your numbers are accurate and those are the only non-monetary compensations, that's pretty bad. But it's not just compensation. The costs for an employee go beyond any actual benefits. Taxes are also applicable. I don't know if school districts are exempt from paying employee taxes.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/22 13:17  Updated: 2011/3/22 13:54
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
Taxes are taken out the same as any other company. TRS is also taken from their base pay as a percentage of base, instead of Social Security.

I am not sure how other benifits are estimated, because not every employee uses the district's health plan.

Thank You
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/3/21 20:08  Updated: 2011/3/21 21:02
 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
The link posted on this web site makes the incentive pay look like a done deal. Public and employees certainly did not get much advance notice so they could comment, etc., to the board.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/3/21 21:32  Updated: 2011/3/21 21:32
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Joined: 2008/12/12
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 Re: Lewisville ISD Considers Incentives to Shed 500 Teachers
I'll post video from tonight's slide show soon.
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