The Dallas Independent School District is facing a perfect storm of declining enrollment and increasing property values. The combination is setting DISD up for 'recapture', which means it will owe the state a projected $40 million next year.
"I mean I get it, I do," said teacher Ashley Groce. "It's not fair."
Groce, who has been with DISD for 16 years and at Stockard Middle School for 12 years, is one of 475 teachers in the school district to get letters saying they were in "excess", and their jobs were no longer available. "I love my job and I love my kids," said Groce. "It's just a disservice, not only to myself, but to our students."
"We tend to see more of the veteran teachers that are receiving the 'excess non-renew' letters," explained Rene Honea, president of Alliance AFT. Honea said it happens every year in every school district. "But it seems to be amplified in DISD the last several years because of the student decline in enrollment," Honea said.
DISD said it has lost abut 1,000 students per year since 2014. Gentrification of neighborhoods and children going to schools outside of DISD are some of the reasons. The district has been combining programs and changing neighborhood schools to 'choice' schools to compete.
DISD said the teacher situation is 'fluid'. About 200 teachers who got notices have been reassigned within the school district next year to other jobs.
Groce said his health and P.E. certification will be a hard fit. Now, he's faced with a terrible choice; resign or face non-renewal.
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"It's the kiss of death," Groce said. "I just want my job back."