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Dallas County Issues

Dallas Cityis situatedin north-central Texas. Itis located70 miles South of Oklahoma and 174 miles West of Louisiana. It is approximately 250 miles north of the gulf of Mexico City. Dallas cityis locatedon the rolling plains near the Trinity Headwaters near the Trinity River in an area referred to as Black-land prairies. Thisareais foundmidway between the Piney woods of East Texas and the Great Plains. This area is well known for the large concentration of manmade lakes. This area has aclimatewhich is humid and subtropical. Itischaracterizedby hot summers and mild winters andhas snow which israre. This area has 100 miles radius and has more than 60 lakes and 50000 acres of public parkland. The rainy season in Dallas occurs in April and May while their driest summer months are July and August (Parker, 2000). Dallas occupies approximately 343 square miles. It has an approximated population of about 1.299 million people. Due to its location andsophisticatednatureit is the number one city for visitors andleisure.Thecitywas establishedin the year 1841 as a trading post. This is because it was near the easy crossing of the Trinity River and this acted as anencouragementfor people tosettlenear the river andpopulatethe area.

Dallas Independent School District is a school district whichis basedin Dallas Texas (USA). It operates many schools in the county. DallasSchoolDistrict is the second largest school district inTexas,and it is the twelfth largest school district in the United States of America. Dallas Independent School District is approximately 312 square miles of land and covers most of the city eventhoughpreviousevidences show that there existed of public schools prior to that date (Hazel, 2001). The board of trustees as at the year 1884was organizedin the law office of R.D. Coughanour whowas assistedby Colonel Martin and E.M Tillman. At the time of the establishment of this school district, six schools were already in operation. Among these six schools, four schoolswere designatedfor the white people while two schoolswere designatedfor the black people living in the region. Dallas School District has throughout the years absorbed many school districts. This is due to its rapidly increasinggpopulation. There are various developments in Dallas which have contributed towards the increase in the population.

Developments like the Harbor whichis locatedalongside Lake Hubbard in Rockwall have helped thepopulationin thiscountyto increase. The population along the region has increased by approximately 88% since the year 2000 (William H. Frey, 1988). The Forth Worth area last year, added the highest number of new residents in the region than any other metropolitanregionin the United States according to the United States Census Bureau. Theregionhad attractedapproximatelyone hundred and forty seven thousand people over a twelve- month period. This has been the highest recordedincreasein the population in America so far. According to thisimproveinpopulation; the number of people living in Dallas has doubled over atwo yearperiod. Analysts suggested availability ofgoodjobs andpositivementalitytowards this area has been the reasons for the increase in the population in this area. This populationincreasecannot only be credited to the movement of people to this area. Dallas County, according to statistics has proved that it has ahigh fertilityrate and a low mortality rate that have successfully contributed to the increase in the population in this region (Page, 2005). It has led tostainin the resources and has left theregionwith ashortagein its budget, and this has transferred the problem to the Independent School District. The school district which was offering 11 grades, expanded throughout the years to a 12 yeareducationalprogram as of the year 1941. This change was initially hindered byoppositionby families who felt thatadditionof extra yeas to the educational program was expensive. Dallas city purchased the Dallas Female Academy on Bryan Street and wasto serve as the firstpublic school in Dallas. From this single school,theDallas Independent School District has grown to 15752 students, 227 schools and 10712 teachers. For over a hundred years, the Independent school district has continually served the educational needs ofmanystudents in the region.

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Dallas independent school district has a couple of functions. Since it is abodythat deals with educational facilities in the city, it has a couple of responsibilities that areimportantto ensure that its operationsare carriedout in the smoothestmannerpossible.

This Independent school district is responsible for carrying out instructional functions and schoolleadership. Thisfunctionis responsible for drawing a line between the general management of the school and itsrespectivestudents. They clearlyspellwhatis requiredof the student and emphasize on issues such as student discipline,commitmentand hard work. It also involves the relationship betweenteachers and students. It is thisdepartmentthat is responsible for making rules and ensuring that these rulesare followedin the best way possible. From the leadership point of view, the leaders such as the school principals and their deputies are responsible for all the expenses necessary for the smooth running of the independent school district. These people are responsible for directly managing, controlling and supervising all activities going on in the independent school district. Secondly, this independent school district has a responsibility to carry out support servicesmainlyfor the purpose of ensuring the students live and school comfortably. Some of this support services includeguidanceand counseling. This function isimportantsince it isessentialto ensure that students are in their right frame of mind andare focusedon their studies. They carry out student assessments to ensure that students are in line with whatis requiredsocially,mentallyand academically. They alsocounselthe students with regards to carriers and educational opportunities with anaimof ensuring that students achieve their goals.

In addition, the independent school district carries out social work service functions. This involves diagnosing the student's social needs arising fromhome, school orcommunity. They also casework andgrouptheworkservice for the child, parent or both. The independent school district in Dallas is also responsible for carrying out health services. These servicesinvolveproviding physicalhealthto the students. This involves providing students with medical, dental and nursing services. Their mainaimis to ensure that a healthy environment exists in order for students to study in a safe and a healthy environment (Craig, 1989).These services include providing free transport to the students when going on field trips and other extracurricular activities. The independent school district is also responsible for providing food to its students and members.

 
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The independent school district also carries out support services that are notstudentbased.These include, plant maintenance and operations responsible for keeping the plants clean and comfortable.In addition, the independent School district is responsible for security functions which ensure that, theeducationcenters are asafeplace foreducationalactivities to take place.They also carry out community services whichinvolveeducationto the community on matters that may benecessary.Finally, the independent school district in Dallas takescareof government charges like payment of taxes and otherrelatedfunds.

Recently, Texas is facing a massive budget gap of about fifteen million dollars. This willforcethe education sector in Dallas to be struck hard as the government continues toplanon the coming budget in the next two years. In this case, the city is consideringmanyoptions to be implemented to ensure that they are notverymuch affected by this massive gap. Therefore, the Dallas Independent School District is considering laying off some of its teachers in order to meet thisdeficitin their budget. This has proven to be ahardtask for the independent school district.The school district has tried to come up with solutions, but this has proven to be areallydifficult task.(Fathers & Sons, 1992)In figures, the Dallas Independent School District is planning to lay off about 3100 on-campus employees including teachers. It also considers relieving 800 non campus employees from their work. The worst- case scenario is that the school district will suffer cuts of up to five billion dollars in the next biennium.At best, the Dallas Independent School district will consider relieving 10% of its work force, but at its worst, itconsiderto increaseitslayoff to at least 20%.

These setbacks have also been faced by this school district in the past. For example, in the year 2008, the school district faced a shortfall of sixty- four million dollars and as a result, hundreds of teacherswere laidoff. The situation has not shown anyformof improvements, and this time, it looks totakethe same action with an aim of at least cutting down thisfinancialdeficit. However, the Dallas Independent School District is workingveryhard in order to ensure that the worst- case scenario does not become a reality. The district hashowever, asked thestatetoimpose10 furlough days which will benecessaryfor thedistrictto cut its budget by forty-four million dollars. The school district is also requesting tocutit salaries by 10% in order todecreaseitsbudgetand save eighty-four million dollars. In addition, the Dallas Independent School District is requesting thedistricttoallowit to increase theratioof the teachers and students in elementary schools to aratioof 25:1. The district needs not to ask for permission if it considers increasing the ratios in the middle schools or the high schools. Altogether, if these three measuresare implementedby the district, it willsaveup to one hundred and fifty million dollars in its budget. This may alsoactas a solution to thisdistrictif it does not want tofacethe worst- case scenario of relieving twenty percent of its workforce. The district is also considering fund raising as an option. They are trying to come up with ways in which they will be able toraiseup to six billion dollars in the coming years. However, even though they are considering cutting costs, thedistrictmanagementhas ruled out the possibility of closing down the schools in order tocutcosts. If theycloseone school, theyconsidertransferring all the students into anotherschoolto ensure that education is not widely affected by the closure.

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All employees in the Dallas Independent School District are usually paid through thefederalstimulus fund. This is afundwhichis usedin a wide range of projects includingeducation. Thisfundis directedto pay all the teachers and workers in the independent school district. It ishowever, disturbing to note that thisfunddries up this year. In the year 2009, the district received more than one hundred million dollars in the form of thefederalstimulus fund. However, a good chunk of this moneywas directedtowards payment of the teachers' salaries andthusthis moneywill be usedup this year.This has acted as a major blow to the Dallas Independent School District since it is also faced with difficult moments where it is planning on cutting its budget.

When this fund finally gets finished, Dallas ISD needs to come up with ways in which it can still remainoperational. First of all, the board of directors need to know how to drill down into what, where, how much and then finally the how of why we spend. This approach willgivea snapshot of what and where moneyis being budgeted. The district has tried (Ruth Huber, 2007). This hashowever, proven not to be enough. Therefore, the Dallas Independent School District needs to come out of the Rainy Day Fund in order that theypreventthe state from suffering. This will prove to be a trickle-down effect that will not justaffecteducation but also other sectors in Texas.

Instead of firing workers, the Dallas Independent School District has considered asituationthat will prove to be beneficial to both employees and the entire district. Thedistricthas come up with an Early Resignationincentivefor its contract employees. Thisincentivewas aimedat offering payment to the workers who took earlyresignationas an option instead of thembeing relievedoff their duties. Thismovehas proven successful since 706 employees whorangefrom coordinators to principals have considered this option and put it into practice. However, even though thismovehas proven successful, the Dallas Independent School District has lost most of its highly experienced employees. This is because the workers who considered thismoveas an option were those with up to 25 years experience.

Furlough days were also an option to ensure that the district saves money. However, it is true that this option will only be effective in the short run. The best and mostapplicablewayof reducing layoffsiscutting down the workers' salaries by at least 15%. This will save thedistrictclose to one hundred and fifty million dollars andsaveclose to two thousand five hundred jobs.This number is toolargenot to be considered since it has proven to be the mostappropriateway of saving jobs and betterstillagoodway of saving money.The Dallas Independent School District has to evaluate ways in which it will be more effective and sustainable in the coming years as it continues being operational.Job departments must prove to be effective and sustainable as they aim at providing quality education to students. This should prove to be happening even though thedistrictis facedbyheavyfinancial constraints.

Another practicaloptionthat Dallas Independent School District hasisto increase the number of students in some of its schools andclosedown the rest. A suggestion of about thirty-five students in eachclasshas been made. This suggestion may save money which wasinitiallyused torunthese schools. However, this option has raised concerns since an increase in the number of students in a class will mean that more emphasis will be ondisciplinerather thaneducation. This will also mean that more time and resources will have to be spending to ensure that these institutionsare broughtup withmaximumdiscipline.This may require more workforces to be hired.

On Thursday March 10, in the year 2011, Dallas independent School District is considering declaring a state of financial emergency. This move is aprerequisiteaimed at relieving all workers employed under contract from their duties. As a result of ahugebudgetdifferencein the current budget,manyconsiderationswere made, and thismoveproves to be the bestmovethey cantakein order tosalvagethe situation. Eventhoughthismoveof relieving the workers under contract from their duties has proven to be inevitable, the board under the school district aims at preventing the worst- case scenario from occurring.

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Many peopleare boundto lose their jobs, but this has to happen in order for the school district to remain operational. However, before taking any action to that effect, the Dallas Independent School District has considered declaring a financial state of emergency. The school district used thismovetwo years ago when theywere facedby a budget shortfall.The administration says thatvariousfunding in Texas House may mean having budget cuts ranging from one hundred and seventeen million dollars to about two hundred and ten million dollars.The worst- case scenario witnessed was when Dallas Independent School District had tointroducecuts in its budget up to two hundred and fifty three million dollars.The school district welcomes suggestions oraidthat may assist in salvaging the situation.

In addition to the financial problems faced by Dallas Independent School District, there are other problems that they face. It istrueto say that these issues play amajorrole in contributing to the current financial situation in this Dallas. These issues have to be addressed as a major step towards the healing process of this county. The following are theissues facedby Dallas.

Firstly, Dallasis facedby many environmental pollution issues. For aregionto develop economically, many issues such as environmental pollution need to be addressed. Dallas is famous for being an industrial town. It istherefore, affected byindustrialeffluentsreleases into the environment andintothe rivers. Constant releases of toxic substances into the rivers have proven to be amajorissue in Dallas. This has acted as a major threat to life for both human beings and animals living inwater. In addition, more than fifty years ago Dallas faced severe water shortage problems.

The countygovernmentdeclared that Dallas should never again be left in such a vulnerablesituationagain. They then resolved that theyemployhigh standard methods of water storage in Dallas. (Kreši%u0107, 2008). Currently, Dallas has come up with projects thatwere aimedat curbing environmental problem,whichis knownas Aztec environmental services. This environmentalconservationproblemwas developedby a company called Dallas Forth Worth Company. Environmentalassurancehad not been created when theglobalwar had started. Companies had maintained their businesses according to the government directives in order to ensure that the environment is a safe place for workers in the business and the outsiders. Eventhoughcompanies followed thisdirective, environmental problems still occurred.

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The Aztec environmental services ensured this problemwas solvedin the best way possible. One environmentaldifficultythat proved almost impossible to solve was theproblemof asbestos. When older buildingswere renovated, the chances of coming into contact with asbestos wereveryhigh.The Aztec environmental services in Dallas had tocomeup with ways in which they would solve this problem to ensure that the workers were not in danger of coming into contact with the asbestos.Also,homeowners recently bought lead painted houses andmouldin these houses proved to be a problem. Aztec came up with ways of solving this problem ensuring that people's homes are safe for human beings to live in without constantly worrying.

In addition, contamination of waterways in Dallas has proven to be another problem affecting the area. The president of thecancerpanelhas recently released a report outlining the status of cancer in Dallas. This report focusesentirelyon the environmental factors that have contributed to the recentrisein cancer in the region. The report reveals that Pharmaceutical drugs are amajorenvironmental pollutant especially when they pollute the waterways andcontaminatethem across the Dallas rejoin. These water ways include rivers and lakes found in the rejoin. A lot of moneyis being spentin this rejoin trying tocurbthe rising cancer cases. The use of a lot of money to try and reduce theeffectof cancer has proven toconsumea lot ofmonetaryresources in Dallas. Thismonetaryresourcewould have otherwise been used to develop other sectors I the Dallas region. Sectors such as the Dallas Independent School District are facingnumerousfinancial constraints which wouldhave been prevented.

Many chemicalshave been regulatedby the government withregardto their environmental pollutioneffect. This has beeneffectiveexcept for thepharmaceuticals, which the government has done little or nothing to ensure that its negative effects are not felt in the environment. This is all people's fault. Everyone knows the effects of these chemicals, and they continuallyemploypoormeansof disposal of these drugs. People dispose of these drugsfor exampleby flashing them through the toilets and disposing them into the rivers. Shocking news has shown thediscoveryof some of these chemicals in foodstuff such as fish. When people eat this foodstuff, they tend to re-introduce these chemicals back to theirbodysystems causing diseases. The government needs to come up with ways in which they can solve this problem especially in Dallas, which has manyfinancialissues to take care of. Finally, the drug companies must be held responsible for their waterdisposalprocedures and should behighlypenalized for being negligent.

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In addition, Dallas is also faced by problems related to crime.Like in many places in the planet, Dallas County has its own share ofcriminalactivities.Criminal activities are inhibitors of peaceful coexistence between individuals and groups in society. In DallasHowever, there are many cases of theft. This theft includes theft of vehicles, burglary and car-jacking incidences reported in the area.Crime isbasicallymeant for commercial reasons.The Dallas police department has tried to come up with ways to curb this menace. This has not only proven to be a state affair, but also an international issue.

The Dallas police department not only wants to reduce the criminal cases in Dallas but to reduce the reasons for people to indulge in such practices. This is aproceduremeant to kill two birds with one stone. Inorderfor Dallas tohandlethis problem of crime, the police should try toemploythe "Positive Action Tokens."This would ensure that it is commercially viable for a youngmantotellan old lady that her windowis brokeninstead of trying tobreakthe window to steal something.This can be made possible by increasing job opportunities among the young people living in this county.Increasing the job opportunities will ensure that, young people are always busy doingconstructivebusinesswhich willdiscouragethem from negative thinking.However, job creation has proven to be amajorproblem in Dallas County since theregionis affectedby shortages in their budgets. This has proven to be amajorconcernin Dallas.

The main concern in this, research is to try and figure out what went well, what went wrong and what needed to be done. In the previous discussion, it isimportantto note that, increase in the population of Dallas has been thecauseto its currentfinancialproblem which it faces today.This has also been reflected in the education sector in this region, bearing in mind that thisregionis one of the largest Independent school District in the country.Before the populationin Dallas Country started increasing, Dallas was averyproductiveindustrialtownin the US. Jobs wereavailableand employment opportunities in this region. Many investors took their businesses in Dallas since theywere assuredof profits. As a result, the region become famous for itsemploymentopportunities and has since attracted many individuals resulting to the rapidincreasein its population. As the population grew, opportunities for quality, better housing, education and employment opportunities became an issue.

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As crowding increased in the region, resulting tostrainfor the available scarce resources. This effect wasgreatlyfelt in the education sector. The Dallas Independent School District has been the most affected educational sector in the region. This has resulted toverymany drastic measuresbeing takento ensure that the problemis minimized. Populationincreasehas also led tostrainin theregion'sbudgetas a result, in the long run. It istrueto say thatpopulationincrease in aregionhas positive impacts in a region in the short run. However, thisincreasehas negative effects in the future as whatis witnessedin the Dallas County.Job increases andfamefor the Dallasregioniswhat went well since it was a positivesteptomarketthe region to investors and those seekingemploymentsince it gave anassuranceofemploymentto the people.This acted as a driving factor towards people moving from the other states and counties into the Dallas County.

What went wrong is that the population increased at averyhighratethat all the resources in the region proved to be toolittleto cater for the population. It isveryalarmingto note that the population of Dallas County doubled itspreviouspopulation. For a region, this is an abnormal increase in population. The government also played amajorrole in contributing to this population increase.The government allowed people tosetupmanybusinesses in thisregionwithout taking long to research on where they couldgetthe money to cater for this population in their next budget.Educational facilities in any given country or region should be plenty insupply.The government needed to ensure that the Dallas Independent School District did not have to take suchextrememeasures as to relieve most of its workers off their duties.

In addition,thegovernment needed to ensure that there was enoughmoney to take care of the budget in Dallas County regardless of the increase in population in this area. If these funds were available in the recent years, Dallas County would not have resulted toexperiencesome worst- case scenarios of the Dallas Independent School District having to lay off 20% of its workforce.

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Many peoplehave been renderedjobless since the School District decided to lay off itsworkforcein boththebest- case scenario and the worst case scenario.The most aggrieving thing about thislayoff is that the most affected were the most experienced teachers and workers who opted tochoosethe option of early retirement rather than to be relieved off their duties.The quality of education may have since went down because firing the mostexperiencedpeople in an organization would mean that students would get an education which is lower in quality than the previous education.

Finally, the Dallas County should have imposed heavy taxes on people starting their businesses there.This would havegreatlyhelped in preventing people from moving there to set up businesses and to look for employment.This would havegreatlyreduced the pressure for the scarce resources and it would have ensured that peopleremainin their respective counties.

In addition, the government should consider allocating funds meant for emergencies. Sincepopulationdoes notincreaseover night,the Countygovernmentshould have raised concern about the general increase in thepopulationas noted in the censuspracticewhichwas carriedout. The government should have started directing its resources towards the region for development purposes as soon as the rapidincreasewas noticed.

This would have prevented many people from losing their jobs. It would also have prevented thestrainfor educational facilities as seen in this region.

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