After months of number-crunching, layoffs and resignation incentives, Dallas Independent School District leaders approved a final budget for the next school year on Thursday.
The district's operating budget comes to $1.174 billion, with $76.9 million cut from last year's budget.
Trustees approved what district officials called "budget version 6.1." It restores full-day prekindergarten and does not call for additional layoffs.
But the DISD will look a little leaner next year.
Student/teacher ratios will increase by one student per class in high schools and seventh- and eighth-grade classes and by two in sixth-grade classes. In part, the ratio increases are because of a reduction in staff across the district by 1,442 employees.
"That includes reductions from the voluntary resignation incentives," DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said. "We had some central staff layoffs, and we also decided not to fill some vacancies we had. Fortunately, we're to the point where we're not going to have any additional layoffs."
District employees are relieved to hear of no additional layoffs, but teachers such as Dianne Reed said they still have some concerns for future budgets.
"[The] '12-'13 school year is going to be a very iffy year because the budget cut from the state is going to be even larger than it was this year," she said.
The district said it already has plans to soften that blow.
"The plans are to put aside $13 million for this next year, and what that will do is that will build our fund balance up to about $128 million, so for the following year, that means that hopefully we won't have to cut as much," Dahlander said.
But DISD really won't know for sure until after it hears some concrete numbers from the Legislature.
"We just don't know," Dahlander said. "It's really too early in the ballgame."
DISD will also explore other cost-cutting measures such as inefficiencies in the budget, cuts to legal costs and the possible school closures.