Ambitious Budget Recovery Plan Expected To Save DeSoto ISD $20M

northside elementary
Ruby Young Elementary Environmental Sciences students enjoy outdoor learning. The student population at Ruby Young will see a surge next year as Northside Elementary doors are shut. Northside students will split between Ruby Young and Meadows Elementary schools.

District To Temporarily Close Northside Elementary

DESOTO—Attempting to correct the fiscal woes of the past in DeSoto schools is far from breaking news. However, in the spirit of transparency, district officials released a plan to address major financial shortfalls. This proposed plan will not only address this year’s budget deficit but help to rebuild the fund balance for the subsequent school year.

According to a statement from the district the reduction plan will include the cutting of the overall workforce. At the district headquarters there will be a 15-20% reduction to all departmental budgets. Some district programs and positions may undergo editing or cease altogether. And finally Northside Elementary will go offline and eventually officials will explore other uses for the facility.

“As a district, we understand the concerns related to temporarily taking a campus offline and aim to be intentional in ensuring a high-quality educational experience for every student at regardless of their assigned campus in DeSoto ISD,” says district spokesperson Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones.

The Northside Elementary population will split between Ruby Young and The Meadows Elementary campuses. As a result of this decision, the district has drafted a revision to elementary attendance zone lines and will provide an update regarding revised attendance zones.

Cost Saving Plan Includes Cutting 200 Teachers

Besides the closure of this low attendance campus, Monday night DeSoto ISD board members cut more than 227 district employees. Of that number 200 were teacher and teacher aide positions. While no district wants to lose any teachers, payroll is by far their biggest expense. Just last November there major backlash after financial shortcomings forced a delay in payroll checks right before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Last week, prior to Monday’s special called Board meeting, DeSoto ISD administrators held group-specific meetings with campus staff and parents to communicate the proposed plan and field questions related to the proposed plan.

“As a district, we are planning to transition into the next phase of this plan which focuses on implementation,” said Blackmon-Jones.