NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Independent School District administrators were persuaded to change their decision about a specialized learning program offered at the middle and high school levels.They were going to end the high school AVID program, but now say the program will stay intact.
Dr. Fred Hayes, the Nacogdoches ISD superintendent, said it wasn't until hours before Thursday's school board meeting that he learned of opposition to ending the AVID learning program at the high school level. Media was informed that school children would show up with signs opposing the decision. Sure enough, they did. And this was Hayes' answer.
"I assure you after that we began to do some checking around and what we determined is that there will be no reduction in funding other than for the field trips next year," Hayes said.
The district never intended to stop the program, which the AVID website refers to as a philosophy, at the middle school level. However, due to dropping participation at the high school level, a team of decision makers saw AVID as a good place to reduce costs.
Sandra Dowdy, the assistant superintendent for academic services, said the district's goal will be put on hold for at least another year.
"What we want to do eventually is to take the strategies in AVID and use them for all students," Dowdy said. "That is our goal. So right now it's mainly focused on 56 students in the high school, but we want to change that and have it for all students."
The debate happens during budget restraints. Campuses have been asked to cut expenses by certain percentages. There are faculty reductions through attrition. Specialized programs like AVID are scrutinized.
"That was for budget purposes to allow us to balance the budgets so raises can be given to teachers," Dowdy said.
The raises were approved Thursday night, but so was AVID. In return, students are being asked for a continued commitment to the program next year.
NISD officials said they want to adopt much of the AVID curriculum, but add some of their own strategies without having to pay for the use of the AVID brand. That idea will remain under consideration for 2016.