Obama has just made available yet again a one-time fund. This time it is designated specifically for teacher salaries. If it is only for this year, how do you think your district should deal with it? Do you already know their plan?
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Do you really believe that one penny of that money will go into teachers' pockets? In Tennessee, we've already been told that we won't get any of that money, since we have already received Race to the Top funds--even though that money is not intended for teacher salaries. What good will a one-time fund do anyway? If districts hire or rehire teachers, will they be let go at the end of the year? Where will districts get money to pay their salaries next year? It's all smoke and mirrors to make one political party look good during elections.
We're not getting any of the money in our state. The reason--we actually balanced our budget and made painful cuts in order to do so. My state (South Carolina) has been told that it's not eligible because we did not plan to spend a certain percentage on education in this fiscal year--the reason, though, for not spending that amount is because we simply don't have that much money to spend (a novel idea!). So, we're not getting anything--even though we've had to let teachers go, have taken furlough days, and have increased class size. It wouldn't be so bad if our tax dollars were still going toward helping teachers in other states keep their jobs or be rehired, but I think that very little of that money will actually be used for that purpose.
We had our annual district faculty meeting this morning, and there was some good news. Our district will use the money to re-hire teachers who have been laid off in the past two years. That was some good news, coming on top of our overall dismal financial situation. I hope the money comes soon, and I hope to see past colleagues return.
Here in Kansas, must school districts have already settled contract negotiations for this school year. I'm fearful any will actually re-open negotiations because of this money; most will likely just replenish their "rainy-day" funds. While this should certainly be advantageous for next year, I'm afraid it is too late to do much good for this school year.
I don't think my school district in Florida has announced plans for the most recent windfall. If past actions are repeated, the money will not be used to hire new teachers or give raises to present teachers. Hopefully, it will act as a stop gap to any more rounds of firings.
Many schools, like those in Washington State, received the bad news a couple of weeks ago that yet another round of cuts was coming. What the emergency stopgap measure signed into law by Obama is supposed to do is help the states to avoid another round of cuts - cuts which would inevitably mean layoffs. In our district, for example, all of the "fat" - extracurricular, classroom budgets, travel/training funds - has already been cut. The only thing left is teacher positions. We'll see what actually happens though.
I have a feeling our district will decide which previously "cut" positions are really hard to live without - and add those back in the hopes that something changes again next year and they get to stay.
That would be my guess. I doubt we'll use it to reduce class size.
Here in New Jersey, the Christie administration has applied for just under $300M of the federal funding. The newspaper, however, claims that Christie is wary of accepting funding that is just a one-time deal (I think that's easy for him to feel because he's not out of a job). But as stated in an earlier post, the money is intended to support current salaries, and budget cuts have already affected schools and many teachers here have already lost their jobs or have amended their contracts to take pay cuts. Seems like the Obama administration is a little late with this one.
The timing couldn't be worse, really, since the school year has begun for much of the country. That means teachers and students have already begun this year's journey. Hiring more teachers is always a good thing, I know, but it's such an awkward and disruptive time to make such changes--if, indeed, any of this ever happens. I just don't see it.
Honestly, I have no idea what will happen in my district. I attend all board meetings, and read every email from our superintendent....but that's about the only information we get. We have our district meeting on Friday morning, so maybe there will be more news then. We actually hired several teachers at our site this year, taking on both new teachers and inter-district transfers. It will be interesting to see what they do though. I won't hold my breath!
I am not currently working in a school district (I am an educational consultant), but I believe that states and districts are restricted by federal guidelines to using this funding specifically to pay salaries of existing teacher positions. The funding is intended to save jobs.
From a cynical standpoint, I believe that President Obama and his administration have authorized this spending specifically in order to garner the political support of public school employees during a difficult midterm election.
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