The Robstown Independent School District could save about $3.6 million annually if it implemented staffing changes recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards, but school officials said there are no plans to alter the number of workers currently employed by the district.
Superintendent Alfonso Obregon said the report issued by the TASB in March was meant to serve as a guide for the district's Board of Trustees should a situation arise in which funding shortfalls are a possibility. Having the report and its recommendations allows the district to plan for any future contingencies, he added.
"It's a good report, but it's a baseline," Obregon said. "Now we have a guide (to work with)."
The report highlighted issues with the district's staffing levels, particularly concerning the ratio of students to teachers and campus administrators. In many instances, the RISD was above state averages in each category, while in others it was below those marks.
For instance, the district staffs 86 instructional aides throughout each of its eight campuses. The state average is 13 instructional aides per 1,000 students, leading to an overall average of about 40 aides based on the RISD's enrollment for the month of February, which stood at 3,264 students.
The RISD employs 46 more instructional aides than the state average, which, if done away with, could result in savings of $464,066 for the district, according to the report.
Obregon said that figure can be misleading because the RISD has a higher-than-average number of low-income, special education, or Spanish-speaking students that require more one-on-one interaction with a teacher.
"We're not in the norm when compared to other school districts in the State of Texas," Obregon said. "Does it take more (employees)? I think so, because our demographics are different and some of our kids are below par in academics, language and skills."
Other recommendations issued in the report include a reduction in the number of teachers by increasing class sizes and doing away with up to 30 professional support positions through attrition. Cutting those 30 positions could provide the district with $1.6 million in savings, according to the report.
Obregon said he would work with the board to examine staffing levels when the time comes to plan for the 2011-12 budget. Any cuts made, though, would be done through attrition, he added, meaning positions will not be filled when they become vacant.
"It will depend on the target demographic (of students)," he said.