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San Antonio Schools Slash Staff And Programs To Cope With Budget Woes

Across Texas, school districts are being compelled to explore difficult cost-cutting or revenue-boosting strategies due to stagnant state funding, after Texas legislators failed to pass a comprehensive public education funding bill.

Nearly a year after implementing the highest starting teacher salary in Bexar County, the trustees of Judson Independent School District (ISD), which is grappling with a substantial projected deficit of $32 million, recently discussed the possibility of having to ask voters for a property tax increase. 

Superintendent Milton Fields mentioned the need for a quick decision on this, but the board remains uncertain.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, in the San Antonio area, districts are drafting high-deficit budgets while trying to balance the need for cost-cutting with the necessity of addressing staffing shortages and complying with new state mandates.

Districts like Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD have seen significant increases in operating costs. For instance, the cost of substitute teachers has risen nearly 260% since 2019.

Even districts that are closing schools to cut costs continue to face substantial deficits. Edgewood ISD recently shut down two campuses and is undergoing a districtwide redesign to address a $7 million deficit over the next two years.

Superintendent Eduardo Hernandez pointed out that the state has not increased the basic allotment—the per-student funding mechanism—since 2019, exacerbating financial challenges. “We’re just like any other business,” he said, highlighting the need to cover basic expenses like fuel, insurance, and utilities.

Of 337 school districts recently surveyed by the Texas Association of School Business Officials, 80% said a lack of resources is a top challenge and more than half expect to end the year in a deficit.

San Antonio ISD, the third largest district in Bexar County, plans to cut over 200 staff positions previously funded by federal pandemic relief funds, which expire in September. These cuts include positions crucial for supporting high school students, special education, and family engagement.

According to San Antonio Express-News, even districts with growing enrollments, like Southwest ISD, are also feeling the financial pinch. Southwest ISD projects a $10 million to $12 million deficit next year, even before considering potential pay raises.

North East ISD Superintendent Sean Maika told San Antonio Express-News that he remains hopeful for legislative action but is cautious about relying on it. Three decades in public education have taught him that the financial situation is “never as bad as we think, but never as promising as we had hoped for.”

“What I’ve always valued about education is, we have been faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, and we’ve always found a way to rise above it and get better,” he said. “And I believe we will do it again.”

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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