School districts across the state are dealing with news of Senate bill 8 passing, a piece of legislation dubbed the anti public school bill by some. While millions are being slashed from school budgets, Laredo I.S.D. feels they are still in a good spot heading into the next school year, though the trouble is long from over. Our Ryan Bailey explains in our top story at ten.
While most of the focus has been on getting through the next two years, leaders at L.I.S.D. know they must take more of long-term view.
"This is not a two year problem, it's going to be a minimum of a four year problem and we need to proceed cautiously."
Laredo I.S.D. has made many changes to their staff, letting many retire early and just recently restructuring their administrative personnel and cutting vacant positions in the process.
"The duties and responsibilities and the expectations all continue with less people in effect distributing more work to several positions to get more value for the school district."
In all more than 40 positions were cut, saving the district an estimated $2 million. Even with those cuts the district is looking at more ways to save money. One that has been discussed is freezing the salaries of district employees, an idea brought recently but tabled by the board.
"What the majority of the board wanted to do is wait until the legislative action was taken and then make a more informed decision and I’m totally in favor of that."
The superintendent knows that just because something is tabled doesn't mean it is dead.
"We've got to make some drastic cuts and so when they table items they make it pretty clear that we need to revisit them. Maybe we can do them later on in the process."
Despite the cost saving measures, Nelson says their number one goal remains the same.
"No matter what budget cuts happen, no matter what restructuring we do, our teachers and our staff will rise to the occasion and educate our kids in a way that is world class."
Dr. Nelson says at this time he does not see a need to dip into the district's reserve fund and that the goal in these talks remains to maintain a high level of education while avoiding any lay offs.