Community Voices for Public Education urges parents, teachers and members of the Houston community to take action at tomorrow night's board meeting. Help is needed to stop disastrous per unit allocation (PUA) school funding cuts!
Here are ways you can help:
1.) Write to the Board before they vote on Thursday
2.) Rally with us before the Thursday Board meeting
3.) Speak against the PUA cuts at Thursday's Board meeting
On Thursday, the HISD School Board will be voting on one of the most significant across-the-board funding cuts in HISD history. These cuts (called PUA cuts) would affect every student in every school in every zip code in the district.
Read here about the $107 million budget shortfall HISD faces. According to Deputy Superintendent and CFO Ken Huewitt, to make up for the shortfall, cuts must be made from two places:
1.) central office - district-wide budget, district level administration, outside contracts, etc.
2.) PUA (per-unit allocation) - the amount of money a school receives to educate each child. PUA money directly affects our children and the quality of their education.
A month ago, Mr. Huewitt mentioned that at least $60 million could be cut from central office. He promised that the district would make as many additional cuts as possible from central office before it would consider cutting from PUA. One month later, it appears that HISD has made no significant cuts beyond the original $60 million from central office, meaning that they are intending to cut the remaining $40 million directly from our children's education.
There is no reason the Board should rush to vote on these PUA cuts until HISD has examined the central office budget with a fine-toothed comb, cutting anything that does not serve our children. Here are some suggestions:
- Freeze new hiring of district level administrators (like SSO's). Historically, the district has functioned well with fewer than the current number.
- 2-5% pay cut for district level positions making more than $125,000
- Scale back the Office of Employee Relations (terminations), which increased its budget from $1.2 million to $2.9 million just last year.
- Cut EVAAS, the flawed teacher evaluation system which costs $500,000 every year.
- Keep professional development in house and save millions.
- Examine the $4-5 million yearly legal expenditures.
- Look at each contracted service and scrap the ones that don't help children or that could be acquired more cheaply.
Schools are already shouldering $190 per pupil PUA cuts from 2011. To add another $179 in PUA cuts now without focusing attention on cuts to central office personnel and contracted services is immoral. Keeping cuts farthest away from children is in the best interest of children and of our city.
2.) REMINDER: Take Back Our Schools Rally:
THIS Thursday, March 10
(5:00) 5:30 - 6:00
Hattie Mae White Building
Pizza and juice at 5:00 p.m. Short rally of speakers at 5:30. Come inside at 6:00 to watch the board meeting.
Oppose PUA cuts to classrooms; stand up for quality public schools in every neighborhood regardless of zip code; oppose the high stakes testing culture in our schools and demand a superintendent who cares about kids more than image.
3.) Speak against the PUA cuts, agenda item I-3, at Thursday's Board meeting.
Here is how to register to speak. Find the March 10 official agenda here. I-3 is on p. 74.