Am I a geek or a nerd?

How short is short?
April 12, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Geek | Tags: ,

Damn short. Schools in Michigan are looking at $165 per pupil cut already, but the budget plan (that isn’t in place yet) indicates addition cuts of $275-$350 per pupil. Without question, this will bring districts to their knees. Layoffs will begin before the school year is over. Many will look to privatize custodian services. I’ve heard talk of the ISDs taking over transportation (aside: imagine creating bus schedules for 21 independent school districts, plus charters, plus schools of choice, all with their own calendars, daily schedules, and definitions of half day. Its hard, no? Now imagine they want it done by July 1).  We have districts looking at sharing superintendents and other administrators. Many are closing buildings. Certainly they are laying off their youngest teachers (its all seniority).

I don’t have an answer, other than this is going to require way more than belt tightening to fix. Macomb County will need to pass a millage and even then it would only raise 50% of the revenue shortfall we expect. I wish I knew what to do. I see some things here that could change. For example,  I’m not sure why we don’t offer more, or even exclusively, evening programs so as not to pay for substitute teachers. That’s a ballpark figure of $100 for each teacher that attends a daytime workshop. Social Studies runs nearly all of its events at night or during the summer. I did this on purpose as I know that SS isn’t viewed in the same light at Math and ELA.  I’ve never cancelled a workshop for lack of enrollment, teachers seem pleased with the short but intense sessions (all of them multi-evening events, so there is follow up), and the ISD doesn’t have to pay sub costs. For my Fourth Grade Learning Community this saved $6300 (we meet 6 times after school, that would be 3 full school days otherwise, and 21 people attended all sessions). SS has evening sessions for 3rd grade as well, and next year will offer evenings to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th grades. I’m also going to try to move my HS sessions to evenings. Typically, this gets more complaints from that group–the coaches in particular. To which I would like to say-you are a teacher first and a coach second and God made assistant coaches for a reason (and I was a coach too, so I know of where I speak!).

Is that the answer? No, its just more belt tightening.  I still don’t know the answer.


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