58 / 48
      65 / 47
      67 / 39

      Sharyland ISD preparing for budget cuts

      School districts around the Rio Grande Valley are preparing for major cuts in education.

      The Sharyland Independent School District is looking at everything from food at meetings to the athletic budget and physical education.

      They said they're trying their best to stay away from cutting too many teachers.

      Lights are out, blinds open in Superintendent Scott Owings' office where he is hard-at-work looking at cuts to Sharyland ISD.

      "We're just trying to be prepared," said Owings.

      Using less electricity is just one of the ways Sharyland ISD is trying to cut back on expenses.

      "We've explored every avenue from electricity savings to reducing meals to cutting insurance costs," said Owings.

      As the state works on their budget, education is on the chopping block and districts need to make sure they save before it's too late.

      "The district is being told, 'you're going to lose a large chunk of money' which they depend on for salaries for jobs, so therefore it puts them in a bad situation," said Texas State Representative Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco).

      "We don't know exactly how much the cuts will be, we've had ranges from about $8.2 million to $11.5 million dollars|with that amount of money, you have to get into some staff reductions," said Owings.

      Sharyland ISD has about 1,260 employees and the district is looking to cut about 76 including 26 teachers.

      The music program and tutoring program will be cut and physical education will be cut in half.

      Owings said employees have also been offered an early resignation notice incentive and about over a handful of employees have shown interest.

      "We don't have a huge monetary one, but we've had a thousand dollars by them giving us early notice that they're going to resign or retire, and that helps out a little bit," said Owings.

      The $1,000 dollars that they receive will come from 20 days of sick leave that they do not take during the year, and as Sharyland ISD prepares for the chopping block, Owings will continue to work with the lights out and blinds open to cut back on expenses.

      Superintendent Owings said statewide, there will be about 100,000 education jobs lost due to the state budget cuts.