Budget cuts good for kids? Not really

I had a little trouble believing the headline on a story posted by WFAATV in DallasFort Worth. “Budget cuts may benefit Cedar Hill ISD students,” it said.

Although budgetary reductions prompted the district in Dallas County to cut 73 positions this year, the story tries to make the point that the thousands of school layoffs across the state have enlarged the pool of qualified applicants for the few positions that Cedar Hill has been filling.

“We haven’s had this great of a pool to pick from in a long time,” said high school principal Tammy Mariani.

Cedar Hill had 93 applicants for one nonprofessional position, a teacher’s aide in special education, and 475 applicants for an intermediate school teacher position. That may be an administrator’s dream, but it is a nightmare for a recently unemployed teacher or teacher’s aide scrambling for a job.

According to the story, Cedar Hill in the past has had to recruit teachers from as far away as Mexico, seeking the best and the brightest educators with the proper credentials.

That may be. But even with shortages of properly certified teachers in certain disciplines, I wonder why the district had that much trouble. Cedar Hill, after all, is on the edge of the Metroplex, not sitting among a bunch of cacti along the Pecos. It also is one of the higher paying school districts in Texas.

I still question the headline. Some Cedar Hill students may benefit from a handful of topnotch new hires, but other students will be illserved if classes become more crowded or electives are dropped because of a smaller, overall teaching force.



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