Fort Worth School Trustees OK Layoffs, Massive Cuts

95 Employees to be laid off, programs to be cut to make budget

At least 95 Fort Worth schools employees will be laid off as part of $15.4 million in cuts from next school year's budget.

School trustees approved the cuts Tuesday night.

Superintendent Melody Johnson said laying off employees was a difficult but necessary move. This year, the district was short about $43 million and faces a $15 million shortfall next year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"No one likes doing this," she said. "This is the absolutely the worst thing you can do as an organization."

Administrators plan to use seniority to release 40 campus monitors and 44 alternative-school employees. Some monitors will be reassigned. Officials said they planned to offer job search assistance to the employees who lose their jobs.

John Walker, a campus monitor who has worked for the district for 23 years, told trustees that reducing the number of monitors would compromise school safety.

"A monitor shows up every day on time -- visible and vigilant," he said.

Trustees voted 5-3 to eliminate $3.1 million for the so-called Tier 1 alternative-school program, which employs 44 teachers, administrators and other staff.

Trustees also cut funding to the Dunbar Area Community School, which has educated residents since 1973.

Efforts are under way to find other funding sources to keep the Dunbar Area Community School open. On Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council approved using federal stimulus money to take over some job-related programs that the community school offers. But city officials said that the funding is for only one year and that there are no plans to take over the programs permanently.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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