POSTED: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 4:43pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 5:12pm
EL PASO – So, now what? That's what many people are asking after the El Paso school board's surprise decision against more budget cuts.
Two elementary schools and hundreds of jobs were spared. So, it begs the question: how will El Paso schools continue to meet expenses, when the state is cutting more than 20-million-dollars in funding?
The board is back to square one. The EPISD may lose millions of dollars in state funds, but the board was not able to agree on cuts to make up for that. Patricia Hughes was one of the three trustees who said the board should have closed the two elementary schools, Schuster and Zavala.
“It's not fair to the rest of the district that those small schools exist,” said Hughes.
Since school closures and job cuts were rejected, what other options are out there?
“It could mean other cuts, or what we don't want to do is hit our fund balance anymore, and that's another choice,” added Hughes.
The bottom line is, we don't know what could be cut next. But one woman, who works as a school nurse said she's willing to sacrifice some of her salary, in order to make sure folks who work for the school district, keep their jobs.
“Some of us have discussed, we'd be willing to take a pay cut so we can keep some of the jobs...the number of days that we work per week, we could cut some of those out and give them to somebody else so they can have a job,” said Pam Patneaude.
But, here's another issue: if lawmakers in Washington reach a deal on the federal budget, Texas could get close to $1 billion in federal stimulus funds. So, EPISD may not even have to deal with cuts. However, Hughes told us she's not counting on that money, until it's a sure thing.