Thursday, March 18, 2010

When Governors Attack

I know it's been quiet around here lately.  I am currently trying to take in the 85% reduction in state aid to the school district where I live and the 71% reduction in state aid in the school district where I teach.  $7 million dollars in cuts where I teach.  There is no way that jobs and programs can survive these cuts.  This, after our union already made an unprecendented move two weeks ago to open our already negotiated contract and accept a partial pay freeze next year instead of our contracted raises to help save our district money in order to protect jobs and programs.  This is all the brainchild of our governor, Chris Christie, who has been in office for all of 8 weeks, who constantly demonizes teachers and public education, and whose own children go to private school.

I am in awe, really.  We already pay the highest property taxes in the nation here in NJ (my taxes are insane) and taxes will have to go up to help make up for some of the loss in school funding.  The loss in school funding that  equals the end of programs and the loss of jobs, fewer materials, fewer teachers, larger classes.  Our schools are top notch.  Not for long.  People move here for the schools.  They pay these ridiculous taxes for the schools.  They move away to cheaper states when their kids graduate because the taxes are no longer benefitting their families.  So now... if our schools decline, property values decline.  All the while, taxes continue to go up.  People will move out of NJ in droves.

This plan is a horrendous one.  It is like the domino effect from hell.  It's very sad.  Tonight the district where I work is having a Board Meeting to go over the new preliminary budget with the cuts.  I couldn't attend because I had to be home with my children and running one to dance class and so on, but it is with a heavy heart that I will head into school tomorrow to hear the damage.  We have already lost all of our instructional aides, and last year they consolidated our 9 first grades in my school into 8.  We don't have a lot of wiggle room to give back and now we are being forced to reduce $7 million in one fell swoop.

I just don't feel much like writing. :(


Summer said...

Things here in Georgia are looking grim, too. It seems to be a dark time to be getting into education, which is just my luck. :-S

roxy said...

I don't blame you for not wanting to write, Lindsey. That is a crappy situation. I am so sorry. There really isn't anything I can say that will help, but I'm thankful there are teachers like you in the world. I can see how dedicated you are to your students. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'll be getting the first pink slip in my entire working life by the end of the month. Michigan is already living the nightmare scenario you so accurately describe.

Our district is facing a five million dollar deficit for next year, so 48 teachers at my high school, over 230 teachers district wide will get pink slipped.

But it's all ok because we all know that teachers are the problem and if we could just get rid of them and their unions we would have world class students and education.

The biggest joke of this is that private and charter schools will accept all these students with open arms. Well, no, the biggest joke is Arne Duncan, who's running RTTT in spite of the fact that Chicago, the city where he fired entire school staffs in the name of reform has published at least one report detailing the utter failure of his reforms.

Duncan is the devil.

I'm sorry to rant. I feel your pain, and I am so sorry you are in this position.

Stephanie Thornton said...

That's a totally lame situation. I'm a teacher too so news like this hurts. My sister-in-law is a teacher in Orange County and they've faced all sorts of crazy cuts as well.

Pat Tillett said...

That really sucks..
Same thing happening in the L.A. area. It's incredible that they want to cut teachers, when they have a couple thousand administrators and "contract" employees, all making well over 100K per annum.
Earthlings are so friggin stupid!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Thanks for your comments, guys. This probably wasn't the best place to vent but I needed to get it out.

Sorry to hear about your situations, too, ladies. It's terrible to hear that it's happening everywhere, and at the same time, it makes me feel a little bit less targeted.

I'm coming to terms with it. It's out of our hands. I can't stay angry forever. I wish things were different, but they're not, so I've vented and I feel a little better. It's going to be a tough road ahead and we'll do the best we can.

I hope for the best for all of you. So sorry to hear about the pink slip, Sarahjayne. It sounds like that is happening in so many places. Is there a possibility of being rehired? I know they do that a lot in California. I can't imagine going year to year feeling like you have to fight for your job. *HUGS* to all of you!

Palindrome said...

That's what the 'sphere is for...venting!