Dallas County Issues and Independence School District
Dallas City is situated in north-central Texas. It is located 70 miles South of Oklahoma and 174 miles West of Louisiana. It is approximately 250 miles north of the gulf of Mexico City. Dallas city is located on the rolling plains near the Trinity Headwaters near the Trinity River in an area referred to as Black-land prairies. This area is found midway between the Piney woods of East Texas and the Great Plains. This area is well known for the large concentration of manmade lakes. This area has a climate which is humid and subtropical. It is characterized by hot summers and mild winters and has snow which is rare. This area has 100 miles radius and has more than 60 lakes and 50000 acres of public parkland. The rainy season in Dallas occurs in April and May while their driest summer months are July and August (Parker, 2000). Dallas occupies approximately 343 square miles. It has an approximated population of about 1.299 million people. Due to its location and sophisticated nature it is the number one city for visitors and leisure. The city was established in the year 1841 as a trading post. This is because it was near the easy crossing of the Trinity River and this acted as an encouragement for people to settle near the river and populate the area.
Dallas Independent School District is a school district which is based in Dallas Texas (USA). It operates many schools in the county. Dallas School District is the second largest school district in Texas, and it is the twelfth largest school district in the United States of America. Dallas Independent School District is approximately 312 square miles of land and covers most of the city even though previous evidences show that there existed of public schools prior to that date (Hazel, 2001). The board of trustees as at the year 1884 was organized in the law office of R.D. Coughanour who was assisted by Colonel Martin and E.M Tillman. At the time of the establishment of this school district, six schools were already in operation. Among these six schools, four schools were designated for the white people while two schools were designated for the black people living in the region. Dallas School District has throughout the years absorbed many school districts. This is due to its rapidly increasing g population. There are various developments in Dallas which have contributed towards the increase in the population.
Developments like the Harbor which is located alongside Lake Hubbard in Rockwall have helped the population in this county to increase. The population along the region has increased by approximately 88% since the year 2000 (William H. Frey, 1988). The Forth Worth area last year, added the highest number of new residents in the region than any other metropolitan region in the United States according to the United States Census Bureau. The region had attracted approximately one hundred and forty seven thousand people over a twelve- month period. This has been the highest recorded increase in the population in America so far. According to this improve in population; the number of people living in Dallas has doubled over a two year period. Analysts suggested availability of good jobs and positive mentality towards this area has been the reasons for the increase in the population in this area. This population increase cannot only be credited to the movement of people to this area. Dallas County, according to statistics has proved that it has a high fertility rate and a low mortality rate that have successfully contributed to the increase in the population in this region (Page, 2005). It has led to stain in the resources and has left the region with a shortage in its budget, and this has transferred the problem to the Independent School District. The school district which was offering 11 grades, expanded throughout the years to a 12 year educational program as of the year 1941. This change was initially hindered by opposition by families who felt that addition of extra yeas to the educational program was expensive. Dallas city purchased the Dallas Female Academy on Bryan Street and was to serve as the first public school in Dallas. From this single school, the Dallas Independent School District has grown to 15752 students, 227 schools and 10712 teachers. For over a hundred years, the Independent school district has continually served the educational needs of many students in the region.
Dallas independent school district has a couple of functions. Since it is a body that deals with educational facilities in the city, it has a couple of responsibilities that are important to ensure that its operations are carried out in the smoothest manner possible.
This Independent school district is responsible for carrying out instructional functions and school leadership. This function is responsible for drawing a line between the general management of the school and its respective students. They clearly spell what is required of the student and emphasize on issues such as student discipline, commitment and hard work. It also involves the relationship between teachers and students. It is this department that is responsible for making rules and ensuring that these rules are followed in the best way possible. From the leadership point of view, the leaders such as the school principals and their deputies are responsible for all the expenses necessary for the smooth running of the independent school district. These people are responsible for directly managing, controlling and supervising all activities going on in the independent school district. Secondly, this independent school district has a responsibility to carry out support services mainly for the purpose of ensuring the students live and school comfortably. Some of this support services include guidance and counseling. This function is important since it is essential to ensure that students are in their right frame of mind and are focused on their studies. They carry out student assessments to ensure that students are in line with what is required socially, mentally and academically. They also counsel the students with regards to carriers and educational opportunities with an aim of ensuring that students achieve their goals.
In addition, the independent school district carries out social work service functions. This involves diagnosing the student’s social needs arising from home, school or community. They also casework and group the work service for the child, parent or both. The independent school district in Dallas is also responsible for carrying out health services. These services involve providing physical health to the students. This involves providing students with medical, dental and nursing services. Their main aim is to ensure that a healthy environment exists in order for students to study in a safe and a healthy environment (Craig, 1989). These services include providing free transport to the students when going on field trips and other extracurricular activities. The independent school district is also responsible for providing food to its students and members.
The independent school district also carries out support services that are not student based. These include, plant maintenance and operations responsible for keeping the plants clean and comfortable. In addition, the independent School district is responsible for security functions which ensure that, the education centers are a safe place for educational activities to take place. They also carry out community services which involve education to the community on matters that may be necessary. Finally, the independent school district in Dallas takes care of government charges like payment of taxes and other related funds.
Recently, Texas is facing a massive budget gap of about fifteen million dollars. This will force the education sector in Dallas to be struck hard as the government continues to plan on the coming budget in the next two years. In this case, the city is considering many options to be implemented to ensure that they are not very much affected by this massive gap. Therefore, the Dallas Independent School District is considering laying off some of its teachers in order to meet this deficit in their budget. This has proven to be a hard task for the independent school district. The school district has tried to come up with solutions, but this has proven to be a really difficult task. (Fathers & Sons, 1992)In figures, the Dallas Independent School District is planning to lay off about 3100 on-campus employees including teachers. It also considers relieving 800 non campus employees from their work. The worst- case scenario is that the school district will suffer cuts of up to five billion dollars in the next biennium. At best, the Dallas Independent School district will consider relieving 10% of its work force, but at its worst, it consider to increase its lay off to at least 20%.
These setbacks have also been faced by this school district in the past. For example, in the year 2008, the school district faced a shortfall of sixty- four million dollars and as a result, hundreds of teachers were laid off. The situation has not shown any form of improvements, and this time, it looks to take the same action with an aim of at least cutting down this financial deficit. However, the Dallas Independent School District is working very hard in order to ensure that the worst- case scenario does not become a reality. The district has however, asked the state to impose 10 furlough days which will be necessary for the district to cut its budget by forty-four million dollars. The school district is also requesting to cut it salaries by 10% in order to decrease its budget and save eighty-four million dollars. In addition, the Dallas Independent School District is requesting the district to allow it to increase the ratio of the teachers and students in elementary schools to a ratio of 25:1. The district needs not to ask for permission if it considers increasing the ratios in the middle schools or the high schools. Altogether, if these three measures are implemented by the district, it will save up to one hundred and fifty million dollars in its budget. This may also act as a solution to this district if it does not want to face the worst- case scenario of relieving twenty percent of its workforce. The district is also considering fund raising as an option. They are trying to come up with ways in which they will be able to raise up to six billion dollars in the coming years. However, even though they are considering cutting costs, the district management has ruled out the possibility of closing down the schools in order to cut costs. If they close one school, they consider transferring all the students into another school to ensure that education is not widely affected by the closure.
All employees in the Dallas Independent School District are usually paid through the federal stimulus fund. This is a fund which is used in a wide range of projects including education. This fund is directed to pay all the teachers and workers in the independent school district. It is however, disturbing to note that this fund dries up this year. In the year 2009, the district received more than one hundred million dollars in the form of the federal stimulus fund. However, a good chunk of this money was directed towards payment of the teachers’ salaries and thus this money will be used up this year. This has acted as a major blow to the Dallas Independent School District since it is also faced with difficult moments where it is planning on cutting its budget.
When this fund finally gets finished, Dallas ISD needs to come up with ways in which it can still remain operational. First of all, the board of directors need to know how to drill down into what, where, how much and then finally the how of why we spend. This approach will give a snapshot of what and where money is being budgeted. The district has tried (Ruth Huber, 2007). This has however, proven not to be enough. Therefore, the Dallas Independent School District needs to come out of the Rainy Day Fund in order that they prevent the state from suffering. This will prove to be a trickle-down effect that will not just affect education but also other sectors in Texas.
Instead of firing workers, the Dallas Independent School District has considered a situation that will prove to be beneficial to both employees and the entire district. The district has come up with an Early Resignation incentive for its contract employees. This incentive was aimed at offering payment to the workers who took early resignation as an option instead of them being relieved off their duties. This move has proven successful since 706 employees who range from coordinators to principals have considered this option and put it into practice. However, even though this move has proven successful, the Dallas Independent School District has lost most of its highly experienced employees. This is because the workers who considered this move as an option were those with up to 25 years experience.
Furlough days were also an option to ensure that the district saves money. However, it is true that this option will only be effective in the short run. The best and most applicable way of reducing layoffs is cutting down the workers’ salaries by at least 15%. This will save the district close to one hundred and fifty million dollars and save close to two thousand five hundred jobs. This number is too large not to be considered since it has proven to be the most appropriate way of saving jobs and better still a good way of saving money. The Dallas Independent School District has to evaluate ways in which it will be more effective and sustainable in the coming years as it continues being operational. Job departments must prove to be effective and sustainable as they aim at providing quality education to students. This should prove to be happening even though the district is faced by heavy financial constraints.
Another practical option that Dallas Independent School District has is to increase the number of students in some of its schools and close down the rest. A suggestion of about thirty-five students in each class has been made. This suggestion may save money which was initially used to run these schools. However, this option has raised concerns since an increase in the number of students in a class will mean that more emphasis will be on discipline rather than education. This will also mean that more time and resources will have to be spending to ensure that these institutions are brought up with maximum discipline. This may require more workforces to be hired.
On Thursday March 10, in the year 2011, Dallas independent School District is considering declaring a state of financial emergency. This move is a prerequisite aimed at relieving all workers employed under contract from their duties. As a result of a huge budget difference in the current budget, many considerations were made, and this move proves to be the best move they can take in order to salvage the situation. Even though this move of relieving the workers under contract from their duties has proven to be inevitable, the board under the school district aims at preventing the worst- case scenario from occurring.
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Many people are bound to lose their jobs, but this has to happen in order for the school district to remain operational. However, before taking any action to that effect, the Dallas Independent School District has considered declaring a financial state of emergency. The school district used this move two years ago when they were faced by a budget shortfall. The administration says that various funding in Texas House may mean having budget cuts ranging from one hundred and seventeen million dollars to about two hundred and ten million dollars. The worst- case scenario witnessed was when Dallas Independent School District had to introduce cuts in its budget up to two hundred and fifty three million dollars. The school district welcomes suggestions or aid that may assist in salvaging the situation.
In addition to the financial problems faced by Dallas Independent School District, there are other problems that they face. It is true to say that these issues play a major role in contributing to the current financial situation in this Dallas. These issues have to be addressed as a major step towards the healing process of this county. The following are the issues faced by Dallas.
Firstly, Dallas is faced by many environmental pollution issues. For a region to develop economically, many issues such as environmental pollution need to be addressed. Dallas is famous for being an industrial town. It is therefore, affected by industrial effluent s releases into the environment and into the rivers. Constant releases of toxic substances into the rivers have proven to be a major issue in Dallas. This has acted as a major threat to life for both human beings and animals living in water. In addition, more than fifty years ago Dallas faced severe water shortage problems.
The county government declared that Dallas should never again be left in such a vulnerable situation again. They then resolved that they employ high standard methods of water storage in Dallas. (Krešić, 2008). Currently, Dallas has come up with projects that were aimed at curbing environmental problem,which is known as Aztec environmental services. This environmental conservation problem was developed by a company called Dallas Forth Worth Company. Environmental assurance had not been created when the global war had started. Companies had maintained their businesses according to the government directives in order to ensure that the environment is a safe place for workers in the business and the outsiders. Even though companies followed this directive, environmental problems still occurred.
The Aztec environmental services ensured this problem was solved in the best way possible. One environmental difficulty that proved almost impossible to solve was the problem of asbestos. When older buildings were renovated, the chances of coming into contact with asbestos were very high. The Aztec environmental services in Dallas had to come up with ways in which they would solve this problem to ensure that the workers were not in danger of coming into contact with the asbestos. Also, home owners recently bought lead painted houses and mould in these houses proved to be a problem. Aztec came up with ways of solving this problem ensuring that people’s homes are safe for human beings to live in without constantly worrying.
In addition, contamination of waterways in Dallas has proven to be another problem affecting the area. The president of the cancer panel has recently released a report outlining the status of cancer in Dallas. This report focuses entirely on the environmental factors that have contributed to the recent rise in cancer in the region. The report reveals that Pharmaceutical drugs are a major environmental pollutant especially when they pollute the waterways and contaminate them across the Dallas rejoin. These water ways include rivers and lakes found in the rejoin. A lot of money is being spent in this rejoin trying to curb the rising cancer cases. The use of a lot of money to try and reduce the effect of cancer has proven to consume a lot of monetary resources in Dallas. This monetary resource would have otherwise been used to develop other sectors I the Dallas region. Sectors such as the Dallas Independent School District are facing numerous financial constraints which would have been prevented.
Many chemicals have been regulated by the government with regard to their environmental pollution effect. This has been effective except for the pharmaceuticals, which the government has done little or nothing to ensure that its negative effects are not felt in the environment. This is all people’s fault. Everyone knows the effects of these chemicals, and they continually employ poor means of disposal of these drugs. People dispose of these drugs for example by flashing them through the toilets and disposing them into the rivers. Shocking news has shown the discovery of some of these chemicals in foodstuff such as fish. When people eat this foodstuff, they tend to re-introduce these chemicals back to their body systems causing diseases. The government needs to come up with ways in which they can solve this problem especially in Dallas, which has many financial issues to take care of. Finally, the drug companies must be held responsible for their water disposal procedures and should be highly penalized for being negligent.
In addition, Dallas is also faced by problems related to crime. Like in many places in the planet, Dallas County has its own share of criminal activities. Criminal activities are inhibitors of peaceful coexistence between individuals and groups in society. In Dallas However, there are many cases of theft. This theft includes theft of vehicles, burglary and car-jacking incidences reported in the area. Crime is basically meant for commercial reasons. The Dallas police department has tried to come up with ways to curb this menace. This has not only proven to be a state affair, but also an international issue.
The Dallas police department not only wants to reduce the criminal cases in Dallas but to reduce the reasons for people to indulge in such practices. This is a procedure meant to kill two birds with one stone. In order for Dallas to handle this problem of crime, the police should try to employ the “Positive Action Tokens.” This would ensure that it is commercially viable for a young man to tell an old lady that her window is broken instead of trying to break the window to steal something. This can be made possible by increasing job opportunities among the young people living in this county. Increasing the job opportunities will ensure that, young people are always busy doing constructive business which will discourage them from negative thinking. However, job creation has proven to be a major problem in Dallas County since the region is affected by shortages in their budgets. This has proven to be a major concern in Dallas.
The main concern in this, research is to try and figure out what went well, what went wrong and what needed to be done. In the previous discussion, it is important to note that, increase in the population of Dallas has been the cause to its current financial problem which it faces today. This has also been reflected in the education sector in this region, bearing in mind that this region is one of the largest Independent school District in the country. Before the population in Dallas Country started increasing, Dallas was a very productive industrial town in the US. Jobs were available and employment opportunities in this region. Many investors took their businesses in Dallas since they were assured of profits. As a result, the region become famous for its employment opportunities and has since attracted many individuals resulting to the rapid increase in its population. As the population grew, opportunities for quality, better housing, education and employment opportunities became an issue.
As crowding increased in the region, resulting to strain for the available scarce resources. This effect was greatly felt in the education sector. The Dallas Independent School District has been the most affected educational sector in the region. This has resulted to very many drastic measures being taken to ensure that the problem is minimized. Population increase has also led to strain in the region’s budget as a result, in the long run. It is true to say that population increase in a region has positive impacts in a region in the short run. However, this increase has negative effects in the future as what is witnessed in the Dallas County. Job increases and fame for the Dallas region is what went well since it was a positive step to market the region to investors and those seeking employment since it gave an assurance of employment to the people. This acted as a driving factor towards people moving from the other states and counties into the Dallas County.
What went wrong is that the population increased at a very high rate that all the resources in the region proved to be too little to cater for the population. It is very alarming to note that the population of Dallas County doubled its previous population. For a region, this is an abnormal increase in population. The government also played a major role in contributing to this population increase. The government allowed people to set up many businesses in this region without taking long to research on where they could get the money to cater for this population in their next budget. Educational facilities in any given country or region should be plenty in supply. The government needed to ensure that the Dallas Independent School District did not have to take such extreme measures as to relieve most of its workers off their duties.
In addition, the government needed to ensure that there was enough money to take care of the budget in Dallas County regardless of the increase in population in this area. If these funds were available in the recent years, Dallas County would not have resulted to experience some worst- case scenarios of the Dallas Independent School District having to lay off 20% of its workforce.
Many people have been rendered jobless since the School District decided to lay off its workforce in both the best- case scenario and the worst case scenario. The most aggrieving thing about this lay off is that the most affected were the most experienced teachers and workers who opted to choose the option of early retirement rather than to be relieved off their duties. The quality of education may have since went down because firing the most experienced people in an organization would mean that students would get an education which is lower in quality than the previous education.
Finally, the Dallas County should have imposed heavy taxes on people starting their businesses there. This would have greatly helped in preventing people from moving there to set up businesses and to look for employment. This would have greatly reduced the pressure for the scarce resources and it would have ensured that people remain in their respective counties.
In addition, the government should consider allocating funds meant for emergencies. Since population does not increase over night , the County government should have raised concern about the general increase in the population as noted in the census practice which was carried out. The government should have started directing its resources towards the region for development purposes as soon as the rapid increase was noticed.
This would have prevented many people from losing their jobs. It would also have prevented the strain for educational facilities as seen in this region.