Board's decision maintains block scheduling for 2012–2013

As a move to address a now anticipated $5 million budget shortfall next year, the Carroll Independent School District board of trustees earlier this month voted to reduce eight teaching positions while retaining block scheduling for the 2012–2013 school year.

Carroll ISD trustees on Feb. 6 voted 5-0 to approve a general framework plan for balancing the budget. Trustees approved the first line item—cutting eight teaching positions in fifth through 12th grades through attrition for the 2012–2013 school year. Trustees are planning to cut eight more positions the following year, but they only approved the first year of cuts.

That means a total of 16 teaching positions at six campuses—left vacant from reassignments, resignations and retirements—will not be filled over a two-year period.

The proposal calls for a reduction of two positions at Carroll High School, two positions at Carroll Senior High School as well as one position at each intermediate school and middle school for the 2012–2013 school year.

"Having that level of cut over the next couple of years wouldn't require us to actually let anyone go," Board President Read Ballew said. "We just wouldn't hire as many people."

Carroll ISD trustees also voted to maintain block scheduling, in which students attend classes for 90 minutes every other day as opposed to taking shorter classes daily.

Superintendent David Faltys said parents and staff wanted to maintain block scheduling.

"There was an overall feeling that the balance the budget plan that we are currently moving toward now is gradual, not drastic," he said. "Because obviously, cutting staff too soon, too fast, too quickly hurts morale and is bad for kids."

Last year, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD's board of trustees approved eliminating block scheduling for high school students. The district's Superintendent Robin Ryan explained that hard decisions had to be made as a result of public education funding cuts from the state Legislature.

Carroll ISD Board Vice President Sue Armstrong said keeping block scheduling will give students more time for extracurricular activities and to prepare for advanced placement classes.

"It really is better for the students, especially for AP courses, because they need that time allotment," she said. "It allows the teacher time to go over the material more in depth, and it prepares students for the college schedule."

Other line items in the plan include a two-cent tax ratification election, proposed fees for student activity participation and the sale of district property.

Trustees are planning to consider the additional line items at future board meetings, Carroll ISD spokeswoman Julie Thannum said. The next meeting is scheduled for March 5.

Trustees have until the end of August to approve the district's 2012–2013 budget.

"Whatever decisions we make going forward, we're always going to try to do what is best for students," Armstrong said.

Trustees Craig Rothmeier and Fred Stovall were absent from the meeting.