The DeSoto (Texas) district says it is closing an elementary school and eliminating 277 jobs to address ongoing financial troubles.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the DeSoto board has voted to temporarily close Northside Elementary School at the end of the school year in order to save money. It also has voted to cut 277 positions, of which 157 are teachers.
DeSoto has made the cuts to save about $20 million and stabilize finances. Mismanagement by previous administrators has led to a multimillion-dollar shortfall, officials say.
"This is something that we don't take lightly," says board president Carl Sherman. "This is something that's extremely important to us as we work to secure our future as a district."
DeSoto officials announced in February that employee cuts and a school closure would be needed to address a shortfall of about $27 million. Exactly how dire the district's financial situation is has been difficult to determine because of sloppy bookkeeping and bad management.
Most of the district's former top administrators have left the district in the last year.
The board hired Superintendent D'Andre Weaver in September. He has brought in new administrators.
Officials have said the district was significantly overstaffed with teachers. For example, the average ratio was about 15 students to each teacher in the core classes at elementary and middle schools. The district wants a 24-to-1 ratio in elementary and 28-to-1 ratio in middle schools.
Students at Northside Elementary will be transferred to two other campuses -- Ruby Young and The Meadows elementaries. Northside is the district's smallest traditional campus with 382 students enrolled.
Northside is expected to be closed for at least two years.