Budget cuts hit; instructional programs not affected

Story by Dylan Pitman

Because of the recession, the State of Texas recently issued a report that called for budget cuts to education. Though Texarkana is not affected as much as other areas, principal Paul Norton has to work at balancing the new restrictions with the least impact on classroom instruction.

“From the day-to-day running of the school, 99.9 percent of the people [at Texas High] won’t even see that there’s been a budget cut,” Norton said.

A 10 percent budget cut is expected for the 2012-2013 school year. Though nothing severe is predicted to change, Norton is making sure that any money the school has is spent wisely on education.

“We haven’t seen it as bad as most places,” Norton said. “Actually, we’re pretty [okay] right now. What we looked at, at the high school was doing budget cuts that didn’t affect classroom instruction.”

Though classroom instruction wasn’t in danger of being cut, other smaller, non-classroom related positions were.

“In the past, we’ve had three people who have worked in the counseling area, and this year we have two,” Norton said. “There were some other positions eliminated that were non-instructional staff, but it’s not like there was a big loss on any one area or one department.”

The only department that felt a temporary budget squeeze was theater when it was discovered that the department was overlooked in the budgeting process.

“Somewhere in the process [of moving under a new budgetary area], that department got overlooked,” Norton said. “It was just a matter of it moving from one area of responsibility to another.

Typically, it is very odd for one budget to move from one area of responsibility to another. It was just a very innocent oversight. I’ve checked on that and it’s being resolved.”

Theater arts teacher Michelle Robinson said that although problem had been resolved she knows that they’ve planned some expensive productions this year.

“The theater department is not suffering any more or any less than anyone else on campus. It’s going to be a challenge for us to do some of the things we planned for this year, but having grown up in the theater world I was taught to beg, borrow and steal if needed to make a production work,” Robinson said. “Theater people know how to stretch a dollar and we’re definitely going to practice that this year, so I’m confident we’re going to be okay.”

As for future cuts, Norton said that will have to wait to see what the state does.

“There were no areas cut that would affect instruction in the classroom,” Norton said. “To me, the last thing we would cut is instruction, so we can cut the auxiliary things as much as possible until we get to the point to where we have to do the other, but we’ll see what the state of Texas has in mind.”