Cleburne ISD Superintendent Tim Miller told a Cleburne Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon crowd Wednesday that he would be in favor of a $3.8 million cut in Texas public education proposed in Senate Bill 1 state legislation.
The impact of SB 1 on Cleburne ISD, he said, would be $3.8 million the first year and $4.4 million the second year. House Bill 1 would mean a bigger first-year cut of about $7 million.
“We’re not happy about [the house bill],” Miller said. “Because of my deadline of April 19 to notify my contract employees whether or not they have positions, I have to make decisions over the next two weeks about letting a lot of folks know they don’t have jobs, and then when things become more clear from Austin potentially hiring some of them back.”
In light of the school district’s $9 million fund balance and the possibility of a $3.5 million windfall from a tax ratification election, the $3.8 shortfall might be very workable for Cleburne, Miller said.
“Three-point-eight million dollars is a reasonable cut. If we had the $3.5 million from the TRE and used some of the fund balance and still made some cuts, then we wouldn’t be changing many programs and laying off 145 employees.”
At Monday night’s board meeting, Miller revealed potential payroll cuts totaling $6.5 million in district operations (including Central Office), elementary schools, middle schools and high school.
Miller and his staff are expected to begin contacting employees as early as Friday to tell them whether they’ve been proposed for termination, non-renewal or re-assignment. Miller would recommend a final list of cuts to the board. On April 11, the board would act on those recommendations.
“I’m going to the high school today [Wednesday] to talk to the probationary employees, one of whom is Mrs. [Jennifer] Baadsgaard [principal],” Miller said. “Thursday and Friday, we’ll speak to people at the other campuses. Monday and Tuesday of next week, we’ll finish up with people who are potentially being non-renewed and reassigned.
“The next five days will not be fun. You’re going to see a lot of folks very upset. You’re going to have children coming home and saying, ‘My teacher is crying.’
“The good news is that on Friday, the House is going to debate House Bill 1 on the floor, so people still have today and tomorrow to call or write their representative.”
A delegation of school representatives traveled to Austin this week to pow-wow with politicians.
“[Board members] M.J. Larrison, Brad Allen and Stu Madison went today,” Miller said. “They’re knocking on doors, talking to legislators about what cuts we will have to make.”
He asked members of the chamber audience to lobby from afar.
“We need your help and appreciate your help. Mentoring of our children helps us immensely. Those relationships with the kids help them get through some tough times. Community involvement is great. One of the best things you do is coming to meetings like this and listening to people like me speak. Then you get out in the community and share the word.
“But probably the most important thing I need your help with today and tomorrow is contacting state officials.”
Miller said, “All the things I’m doing are in the best interest of the school district.”
He added, “They’re certainly not in the best interest of our employees and kids.”
King’s Daughters City Union was presented the 2011 Adopter of the Year Award. Other nominees were RE/MAX of Cleburne, Bono Baptist Church, Cleburne Lions Club, Tom Hazlewood, Community Bank and Coldwell Banker Bob King Realty. The award honors “the dedication and contributions of the Adopt-a-School partners of Cleburne ISD.”
City Union was nominated by Wheat Middle School “for major financial support and involvement in the Readers Are Leaders program. This year-long project involves 50 students in grades six-eight in an after-school book discussion group.
“King’s Daughters members read the selected book along with the students and take part in the discussions. Funding by King’s Daughters will also underwrite a field trip to an area college or university for those students who have participated in every Readers Are Leaders session. All King’s Daughters Circles have adopted a CISD campus to assist with student needs.”
Lisa Magers, community services director for the district, presented the award to King’s Daughters representatives Tina House, Shirley Williams, Cathy Campbell and Debbie Kuklies. Kuklies also presented Wheat Principal Laurie Taylor with a check for $2,200.