MAGNOLIA, Texas—Facing a potential loss of $12 million in state funding for the next school year, Magnolia ISD on Wednesday announced the layoffs of 115 teachers and staff and an additional 64 positions that might not be filled after employees retire.
MISD Superintendent Todd Stephens said in a written statement that potential cuts in state funding for the next school year may result in as much as a 15-percent reduction in funds. The 115 employees, notified this week they would not have positions for the next school year, are comprised of 55 probationary teachers, 51 support staff and 9 employees at the central office.
Stephens says the numbers represent a worst-case scenario based on the funding picture as it appears today.
"We sincerely hope that our ‘worst case scenario[‘ is not realized, and that we will be able to return many of these staff members to their positions once we know what our funding from the state will be," said Stephens in a letter addressed to all MISD staff.
He added that the final budget picture might not be clear until late summer.
"I just hate to hear that all these budget cuts are going to have to happen and we’re losing all these teachers," said parent Tara Carpenter, who has two children in Magnolia ISD schools. "It seems like they barely have enough teachers as it is and they’re going to cut them even more?"
"Above everything education should be number one, period," added parent Stacy Gross. "I don’t agree with cutting back on education at all."
In his written statement, Stephens said, "the district does not anticipate that these potential staff reductions will result in any major changes or elimination of current programs offered in the District."
It’s a difficult statement for parents to believe.
"I’m worried about the quality of education my kids are going to get now," said Carpenter.
On Wednesday, a Texas House committee passed an initial budget proposal that will not be welcome in Magnolia or any other Texas school district. The budget plan cuts $8 billion from Texas public schools. Next, the budget goes to a House scheduling committee before it is considered by the full House.