CNN reported on Friday (and JD2718 mentioned on Saturday) that the Dallas school system had to lay off some employees after realizing that its budget was just a tad short, where “just a tad” stands for $84,000,000 [more even than the $64 million first reported]. Whoops! According to the CNN news article:
The district laid off 375 teachers and 40 counselors and assistant principals Thursday, and transferred 460 teachers to other schools within the district.
The deficit was caused by a massive miscalculation in the budget, CNN affiliate WFAA-TV reported.
So that got me wondering what possible miscalculation could have led to that kind of error. It turns out that a large part of it was due to underestimating the average salary of the teachers (which runs on the order of $50,000 for elementary school teachers, according to this site). In this September 23 video, Dr. Michael Hinojosa (superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District) stated:
When you take, you underestimate your average teacher’s salary by $3900 and you multiply that over 11,000 teachers, then that creates a huge budget error.
Yes. Yes it does. About 43 million dollars. The rest of the error was apparently due to not following a formula for how many administrative positions to have at each of the 225 DISD campuses, resulting in 1-2 “extra” people at each campus, for a total of 338 extra positions.
Moral: Being close is not always good enough.
Tags: Dallas budget error