Respondents to a Times-Review Facebook poll last week expressed a Heinz variety of thoughts on what can be done to slash $7 million to $11 million from the Cleburne ISD budget, as many think will be necessary for CISD to overcome a shortfall of education funding from Austin.
Some opinions involved school leadership and state government. Most glimpsed the big-picture of high finance. A few limited the scope to issues such as cafeteria food, curriculum, textbooks and the high school indoor workout facility.
In no particular order, here is a sampling.
Staci Yarbrough offered in part, “Closing Cooke and moving the administration to there would be my first move.”
“The LAST thing we need is to downsize our school buildings to any less than we have,” Christy Bailey countered. “We need more already. There is a severe over-crowding issue at CHS and forcing an entire elementary into the other campuses isn’t going to do anything but have students all over the district sitting in each others laps!”
“Reduce athletic programs because they are not good in most sports,” Todd Saylors asserted.
“If you’re going to cut programs that Cleburne isn’t so good at, why stop at football and basketball?” Matthew Reynolds countered. “We might as well cut English, math, reading and the sciences as well. Sounds ridiculous because it is.”
“How many young athletes have died in the last decade from heat exhaustion practicing outside in our summer heat?” Melinda Wimm Wolf Foster asked in defense of the indoor workout facility. “If you want sports in school, practicing indoors has become the norm in order to ensure the safety of the students.”
Kim Villagomez wrote, “An indoor facility makes sense IF you have the funds to spend, which apparently CISD did not. I think building brand new schools was a waste when it would have made more sense to use outdoor buildings and school expansions.”
Vanessa Deanne Mitchell Duncan wrote, “I’m just appalled that the state is cutting its budget with the school!! Most of school funding comes from local and state ... very little from federal. Where have I been and why is this happening???”
“I think the district spends too much in administrative,” Shelley Rodriguez wrote. “Start your cuts there!!! Dr. Miller stated in the article in Times-Review to cut $3 million each from elementary, middle and high school and only $2 million from administration. What’s up with that? Cut more from education than administrative??!!! We need to focus more on education than administration, sports, etc. If our kids don’t have an education what kind of jobs are they going to be able to get when they grow up??!!”
Mary Grayson reminded, “This cut is not just about Johnson County. This is statewide. That money for the indoor is long gone. Our schools do not operate off high budgets anyway. Most work short-handed. Our school does not even have paid lunch room monitors.”
That touched a nerve with Gayle Appleby Ledbetter, who wrote, “Perhaps we should push the state legislators to do ‘the right thing’ in regards to the children instead of pandering to their partisans in hopes they’ll get re-elected. Enough of the self-serving politics behind this crisis. Just a thought.”
Crystal Thurman Barr wrote, “In terms of budgets, the majority of line items in a budget are not going to amount to major reductions in money. The only two line items that will reduce a budget are salaries and benefits, Aka a reduction in staff since the biggest portion of a budget are salaries and benefits. I’m not agreeing that teachers and staff should go, I taught in Cleburne, and they are a necessity! It is a terrible thing to happen to the districts and students in Texas.”
Jon Nelson defended administrators, writing, “If you had a spouse that worked at the administration building that did 3 to 4 jobs and got little pay and was facing the layoff, maybe you wouldn’t be so quick to be the judge, jury and executioner.”
Jacob Ebbens wrote, “Off campus lunch would save food costs at the high school.”
Michael Woodman asserted, “The district owns the administration building. It would be stupid to sell the building if you could. The building sat 70 percent empty for nearly 10 years because Huguley could not sell it. The district bought it for 50 cents on the dollar and consolidated four old buildings at the old high school into one. In this economy who would buy it? As well moving the data center and equipment to keep it cool would cost thousands. What you could sell it for you would lose in moving and remodeling expenses at either Cooke or Fulton.”
National media monitor Connie Sue Coble wrote, “Fox News says they [the state] have billions set aside for rainy day. Use that.”
Aymee Dulaney Robinson wrote, “I agree with the idea of cutting the lunches out. Go back to the days when everyone had to bring their lunch.”
Barb Dawdy wondered, “Anybody ask what the state did with the money that was supposed to be used for the schools from the State Lottery? I know that’s the only reason my husband and I voted for the lottery. Haven’t seen any going to the schools since the first year. Maybe someone needs to check on that.”
And in a negotiating frame of mind, Chad Fagan wrote, “WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT. I know it is 6:30 in the morning, but WHY are we thinking budget cuts? Why can’t we think of a way to RAISE $11M? Why should our kids suffer because of the state’s screwups?”
Scott Fowler agreed, writing, “I have that same thought about the state budget crisis as a whole. There is not near enough consideration being put into revenue generation to curb some of the cuts.”