FORT WORTH -- Reducing the number of football coaches, assistant principals, secretaries, central administrators and various other positions in the Fort Worth school district was among nearly $19 million in possible cuts discussed by school officials Tuesday.
Officials stressed that the recommendations were only for discussion at this point.
"We're starting a journey tonight that is going to be very difficult," school board President Ray Dickerson said during the budget workshop, the first of many scheduled for fiscal 2011-12.
Officials say they hope to identify at least $30 million in cuts to help absorb state and federal funding reductions over the next two years.
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Fort Worth schools could lose $50 million to $80 million in state funding over the next two years and an additional $15 million in state grants as legislators try to tackle a multibillion-dollar shortfall.
Administrators outlined potential cuts to central and campus administration and support staff, stipends and other programs, such as reducing additional support to the district's most academically struggling schools.
The proposal included cutting one football coach from each campus and eliminating an assistant girls and boys basketball coach from one school that was not identified in the presentation. Administrators also suggest reducing the number of assistant principals and counselors in the district.
Chief Financial Officer Hank Johnson said officials are also examining how contract days could be reduced for some employees.
Trustee Carlos Vasquez said that not enough cuts would come from the central office and that not enough detail was given, such as how many of each job type would face elimination.
He was also upset that campus monitors again face cuts. The district laid off dozens of monitors in 2009.
Superintendent Melody Johnson said officials are working to make cuts as far from the classroom as possible but noted that much of the central office staff works directly with on-campus educators.
Melody Johnson said that more information is known about the positions being considered but that administrators are trying to keep that information confidential because some employees have not been notified.
In a message to staff Friday, the superintendent noted that even if half the cuts come from central office and nonteaching positions, the district is still looking to eliminate 900 to 1,000 teaching jobs in the next two years.
Officials hope most of that could come through attrition.
Potential layoffs have many employees worried.
"Everyone is really scared," said one elementary teacher who did not want to be identified for fear of losing his job. "Most teachers still have the students as our priority, but it's giving us ulcers."
Melody Johnson, who will be in Austin today talking to legislators, said the state must use its rainy-day fund before districts have to make dramatic cuts that could have long-lasting effects.
"We are dealing with a problem we did not create," she said.
Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700