in Houston, Texas
Irving ISD -- which forced a microwave fee on teachers -- shells out $50K for chamber of commerce promotional agreement
Friday, Aug 31, 2012, 01:36PM CST
By Curt Olson

Irving ISD trustees have voted to spend $50,000 to continue an arrangement with the local chamber, little more than a year after approving layoffs and a new fee on teachers.

Irving Independent School District trustees wrestled over a $50,000 contribution to the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, which would be spent on “promotional and development services,” the Dallas Morning News reports. They cast a split 4-3 vote in favor of having “a seat at the table” with community business leaders.

“When our schools are doing well, it promotes, attracts and retains businesses, so I can’t support this. Dr. (Dana) Bedden could probably get an audience with any major CEO in this city,” Trustee Larry Stipes said, according to the Morning News report.

Meanwhile, trustees cut 167 teaching positions in spring 2011 prior to the 2011-12 school year. The district’s number of administrators held steady between 2011 and 2012, according to this Texas Tribune data. The trend of teachers taking the brunt of cuts can be found statewide.

Around the time trustees made those 2011-12 budget decisions, the district authorized a new policy to require remaining teachers and staff to obtain a permit for $40 to install a microwave or refrigerator in their rooms or offices. District officials cited budget and energy efficiency concerns.

Contact Curt Olson at or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of microwave and money by Trent Seibert.

Saturday, 09/01/2012 - 11:44PM

Interesting limited reporting in this article. The article does not mention the $400,000 return of programs, services and etc. from the agreement. The increase in businesses partnering with schools providing donations, etc.

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