As school districts brace for budget cuts, Fort Worth Independent School District is planning to reduce spending by cutting staff. 

As reported by The Dallas Express, Fort Worth ISD’s Superintendent Angélica Ramsey sent out an email to staff and parents sharing that some employees would be let go, citing a $43.6 million budget shortfall. Reportedly, the staff cuts will allow programs and resources that boost student achievement results to remain in place. 

Only 32 percent of Fort Worth ISD students perform at or above grade level across all subjects. 

Staff affected by the cuts will be notified by Friday. 

“It is with a heavy heart that we make these decisions, and we are doing so as early as possible to provide ample time for affected employees to explore alternative opportunities,” wrote Ramsey.

During a school board meeting on Tuesday, Ramsey clarified that the cuts would not affect teachers, only non-teaching staff. Ramsey did not say which departments will see layoffs, as she wants to speak to those being affected in person. 

Fort Worth ISD has long grappled with a budget deficit. Despite declining student enrollment, trustees approved a budget this year that topped $1 billion.

Since 2017, Fort Worth ISD has been losing an average of 2,436 students per year. During the 2016-2017 school year, 87,428 students were enrolled within the district. This year, only 70,604 students are enrolled. 

For the 2023-2024 school year, the district’s school board approved an unbalanced budget. 

Six of the nine trustees voted to approve a $1.048 billion budget that included a $45 million general fund deficit. The general fund budget, which feeds the district’s daily operations, called for spending more than $846 million despite the district’s expectation only to have $801.5 million in general fund revenue.

Fort Worth ISD is not the only district facing budget issues. Earlier this month, Texas Scorecard reported that Keller ISD will be focusing on a new budget to dig the district out of a $28 million shortfall. 

Unlike Fort Worth ISD, Keller ISD told Texas Scorecard that both non-instructional administration positions and instructional positions will be impacted by staff cuts.

President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Andrew McVeigh told Texas Scorecard that school districts need to learn to live within taxpayers’ means. 

“All levels of government must be fiscally responsible stewards of taxpayer money, and that includes school districts as well,” said McVeigh. “If a local government has a budget shortfall, then they are likely attempting to spend too much taxpayer money. Governments must learn to live within their means, just like normal, everyday Texas families do on a daily basis.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.