On 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.