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Important Note from Dr. Shetzer

Pershing Parents,

As a Principal I have prided myself in being transparent, upfront, and candid with my faculty, staff, students, and the entire school community.  I try my best to share what I know with others so that we can work through anything that we are faced with together as a team.  This past Thursday I met with the SDMC (Site-based Decision Making Committee) to share information about the proposed budget model that HISD Administration has presented to the HISD Board of Trustees.

Last month HISD announced that we will be facing a $208 million deficit in the 2018-2019 school year. There are various reasons for this deficit, including recapture, a drop in home values due to Harvey, and a decrease in district enrollment.  Along with a budget deficit comes the need to change how we do business in HISD, including how we staff our schools.  For the past twenty years HISD has funded schools using a Per Unit Allocation (PUA) model.  Basically this means schools receive so much money for each student enrolled in the school.  You may have heard the term “decentralization,” which means that the budget, staffing, and other decisions are made at the campus level.  The district is proposing that HISD move to a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staffing model as part of the 2018-2019 budget.  This approach essentially centralizes staffing, meaning that schools are allocated a certain number of teachers, administrators, counselors, clerks, etc. based on the number of students enrolled at the school.  It also means that every school in HISD will be allocated essential personnel, including counselors, librarians, and nurses, that some campuses may not already have.

Under the proposed FTE model, Pershing will be faced with a budget cut of more than 20%.  The largest portion of the cut is personnel.  While the district is doing everything they can to lessen the impact to the schools, the bottom line is we will lose teachers and other positions.  Based on the current model provided to me, Pershing will have to cut approximately sixteen (16) teachers.  In addition, cuts will be made to administration, clerical staff, and support staff.  All total we are looking at a loss of twenty-three (23) positions for Pershing Middle School, which equates to a $1.6 million cut to our campus. We are a Title I campus, so the additional federal funding we receive will help offset some of the cuts we are expecting to our non-salary allocation.  Our hope is the proposed model that has been presented is the “worst-case scenario” and that things will look differently as the district continues to have conversations over the next few months.

We expect our magnet program to remain as is; however, we do not know what our magnet funding will look like.  Please note that while we do not know what our future funding for magnet will be, we have been working hard to build and maintain our magnet program by purchasing the needed instruments, equipment, supplies, costumes, materials, etc. over the past year and a half.  With the purchases that have been made we are confident that our program will continue to thrive just as it has been for several years.

As always I will continue to operate with transparency and provide updates to the funding model as it is presented to us.  I have already shared this information with the teachers and know that they are 100% committed to Pershing’s students and community, as am I.  I encourage you to keep up-to-date with the issues surrounding the budget over the next few weeks and months.  District V Trustee, Sue Deigaard, will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Bellaire High School.

I am truly blessed to work at Pershing and am proud of the students, faculty, staff, parents, and entire school community.  We are Panda Proud!

Sincerely,

Steven Shetzer, Principal