Just prior to the holidays, teachers were given a gift by one School Board member: He predicts salary cuts up to 20 percent are coming if the district continues to spend money at its current rate. Going from the administration down to the support staff, district employees need to realize that desperate times call for desperate measures. In the end, though, it comes down to the School Board tightening their not-so-motivated belts.
To understand the current predicted problem (which has been caused by the state’s struggling economy), one must understand that the teachers tried an experiment with their last contract. The district now uses a unique formula that will take money from employees when the district needs it.
These parties include teachers, administrators and support staff. Even though the teachers agreed to have this formula in contract, there was one fatal flaw— they thought they would be a part of process in the School Board’s decisions to spend money; so far, these checks and balances have been a little off.
As a result, a couple things are happening. The School Board has no incentive to save money, so their spending this year has not been so frugal. Teachers have gotten concerned because they see this and know that they will end up paying for the Board’s choices.
It must be said that the School Board needs to realize that their actions are affecting hundreds of people. This group is made up of parents and residents who should be advising the leadership of the school district. They are not a group of people trained in education. They get offered $30 a meeting to advise, and they should keep that in mind when they make decisions.
According to the districts website “in any school district, the role of the Board of Education includes reviewing and adopting the budget submitted by the superintendent and aligns the funding priorities with the district goals.” It’s curious that a School Board member is presenting a budget (for the next three years) before the new superintendent even took over his position.
Teachers are probably what make this district stand out. We have some of the most capable people in the world come into our building every day, but these are hard times. Our district has lost severe amounts of funding from the state, so cuts do need to be made.
Teachers in this district have been given many perks over the years, more so than other districts. So when a little bit needs to be taken away from them, they may understandably be unhappy, but this may be reality.
They need to see the bigger picture. Schools from around the country, and especially around the state, have had to make bigger cuts than imaginable. If this staff saw what other districts are going through, they would still realize that they are very well off.
There are a few places where consolidation and efficiency could help our district, such as one athletic director between the two high schools, which has been discussed in recent years. The number of counselors and administrators at a school should be proportional to the number of students. Small things like these can save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It is unfortunate that our district will have to make cuts, but a little accountability can go a long way. Teachers need to realize it could be worse, and the Board needs to slow current spending.