Thanks to an additional $385,000 from the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District is able to shorten its potential teacher layoffs for the 2013-2014 academic year to five.
MBEF Nina Patel announced the additional funds at last night’s school district board meeting, raising MBEF’s previously announced $5 million grant to $5,385,000.
The extra funds are being specifically used to save teaching positions and maintain small class sizes, said Susan Warshaw, MBEF executive director Thursday.
“I was very happy to personally say ‘Welcome back,’ said MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews late Wednesday. “Delivering the news to staff was a great way to spend my day.”
Matthews has publicly said he would keep teachers informed every step of the way since the countdown to layoff teachers began in late February.
Forced to meet a state required deadline of March 15th, by which time all potential teachers who could be laid off must be notified, the school board voted to send out 24.6 pink slips to teachers for the upcoming school year.
Direction from the school board to make budget cuts everywhere else they could then resulted in MBUSD administrators managing to whittle the number down to approximately 11 cut teaching positions.
MBEF’s $5,385,000 now means 5 teaching positions will not be filled next year unless more money is forthcoming, said Matthews. Those positions are an athletic director position at Mira Costa High School, a special assignment teacher at Manhattan Beach Middle School, two Spanish teachers and one counselor.
As school administrators were combing through budgets, making cuts items such as books and supplies, so too was MBEF applying the same mindset to their funds.
“We looked under every rock ourselves,” said Warshaw. They found $100,000 allocated to the current year for a teaching position that hadn’t been filled and moved it to the 2013-2014 grant allocation. “Scrimping and saving” and donations from the Parent Teacher Associations helped raise the additional $385,000 MBEF has granted to be used to keep small elementary class classes small, retain reading specialist jobs and to maintain small humanities and English classes in the sixth to ninth grades.
As for the five remaining positions set to be cut, Matthews said, “The governor’s budget just came out, the legislature is still in session… Nothing is done yet. There still may be things that happen that enable us to keep all of our teachers.”
He said it’s not uncommon for public school teachers to receive pink slips that are later rescinding, even after budgets have been adopted.
MBUSD plans to adopt its 2013-21014 budget no later than June 18th, he said.
The new find of UW System’s $648 million over-abundance raises questions: Why have students been impeded with 5.5 percent fee increases for a final 6 years? Why have many UW employees not perceived a lift for a final 4 years?
Possibly, these pot paint a university’s vital invulnerability opposite a Legislature’s domestic bill cuts. To some, these “budget crises” clear lifting tyro fee and joyless workers’ wages. As both students and workers, connoisseur students humour two-fold. In self-protection, UW-Madison’s connoisseur tyro union, a Teaching Assistants’ Association, has begun a new debate to “Pay Us Back,” job for salary above sovereign misery discipline and some-more identical to those during counterpart institutions.
Graduate assistants learn a classes, work in a labs, conduct a projects, coordinate a meetings. They mentor a students, class a exams, revise a papers. They investigate a data, prep a lab room, exam a equipment, lead a examination sessions. The university works since connoisseur assistants do.
As students, they compensate rising fees; a normal training partner during UW pays over 10 percent of their take-home compensate back — roughly $1,100 a year — in fees. As workers, they’ve endured compensate cuts; health word contributions alone have doubled in a past year. Over a past 10 years, a take-home compensate of connoisseur assistants during UW-Madison has depressed $1,600 (inflation adjusted), putting a normal training assistant’s salary not usually next a misery line, yet also good next those during counterpart institutions. UW-Madison pays a connoisseur assistants a third lowest in a Big Ten — 10 percent next a conference’s normal connoisseur partner wage.
Through a TAA, connoisseur assistants have resisted this downward mercantile pressure, and begun campaigning for aloft take-home pay. They have sent 500 letters to university administration and garnered widespread expertise support. On May 9, TAA will reason a “Grade-in for a Grader Good” on Bascom Hill to make their work visible. Through this campaign, a TAA seeks to pull a administration into an fondness to urge open aloft education.
University leaders, a ostensible keepers of a prophesy of open education, have finished small to stabilise a wobbling predestine of a university, regularly forgoing opportunities to clear a needs of a university. For example, a heads of a UW System and a Board of Regents clapped agreeably after Gov. Scott Walker announced a 2013-2015 bill would discharge fewer cuts, notwithstanding a large appropriation opening from prior years’ appropriation levels. Nearly 16 percent of a state’s assist to UW is destined for “economic development” initiatives, including a argumentative new flex grade program, yet it stays misleading who will economically advantage from these initiatives.
In a face of ceaselessly disappearing state aid, UW administration has pretentious a “can-do” outlook. The administration has shifted a financial weight of a university to students, and prioritized seeking private corporate dollars to say a university’s growth. Unprecedented tyro debt stalks students stumbling opposite campus, and glossy new buildings open adult like clumps of munificent corporate tulips. Meanwhile, campus workers get paid less, have fewer workplace protections, and are asked to do more. Unless collectively intent in a work of re-articulating a prophesy for open education, students and workers will be left to quarrel any other for a system’s scraps.
Public aloft preparation is underneath conflict in this state from all sides. The destiny of a university depends on a eagerness to build from a bottom up, to deposit in a people who make a university run: students, expertise and staff. It’s time to change a priorities of preparation to a students and people who make it possible, including undergraduates and connoisseur students, custodians and cooks, artists and amicable workers. UW’s bill over-abundance acutely exposes how domestic leaders and university administration comparison have enacted a parable of financial nonesuch to clear bill priorities that harm a students and workers of a university. The newly detected over-abundance shows that a administration is using frightened from domestic bill cutters — unnecessarily changeable a weight of bill cuts onto a students and workers who conclude a UW experience.
Eleni Schirmer is a member of a Teaching Assistants’ Association during a UW-Madison.
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Johns County School Board is considering re-instating 70 positions that it lost over the last few years due to budget cuts.
They are non-teaching positions, such as test coordinators and clerks.
Some high schools, such as Ponte Vedra, chose to allocate money to keep a testing coordinator, but principal Craig Speziale said, “By having that position there are other positions I don’t have.”
Testing coordinators organize and plan all of the many standardized tests and exams schools now must administer.
The St. Johns County School district says it has now has the money to bring back 70 positions.
School Board member Bev Slough said, “It’s coming out of money we were able to put aside in anticipation of the economy nearly collapsing, and it’s money that will be generated because of property values are going up. It’s also coming from the legislature pledging more money for education.”
Slough said it will cost about $3 million.
In addition to paying for 70 positions, the money could bring back a seven-period school day at middle schools. Currently, middle schools have six periods.
“That’s going to allow students to have another period in the day to have another elective,” Slough explained, “and it will help teachers because they’re teaching 6 of 6. Now they’ll have a planning period.”
Because Ponte Vedra High School already has a testing coordinator, Principal Speziale said the school could use the additional money to make up for what it did without.
“We’ve done without some other positions we really could use,” he noted.
In the end, while the positions that could return are not teaching jobs, administrators say children will benefit because of the support the schools and teachers will receive.
First Coast News
OHIO: House Speaker John Boehner’s state will lose $25.1 million in education funding, putting 350 teaching jobs at risk and allowing it to serve 34,000 fewer students and 100 fewer schools. 2,500 children will lose Head Start funding, 3,320 will lose assistance to help pay for college, and as many as 800 will lose access to child care. The loss of $1.7 million in job training and assistance funds will mean 57,000 fewer Ohioans get help from those programs. Ohio will also lose $823,000 in funding to help provide meals to seniors.
KENTUCKY: Sequestration will cost Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state $11.8 million in education funding, meaning it could lose 160 teaching jobs and serve 21,000 fewer students. More than 1,700 low-income students will lose assistance to help pay for college, and 1,100 will lose access to Head Start. More than 16,000 Kentuckians will lose job training and placement assistance when the state loses $478,000 in funding for those programs, and it will also receive $677,000 less to help provide meals to seniors.
VIRGINIA: Virginia, the home of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, would lose $14 million in education funding, jeopardizing 190 teaching jobs and cutting funding for 40 schools and 14,000 students. 1,000 students would lose access to Head Start and 2,120 low-income students would lose funding to help finance college. Another 400 low-income children could lose access to child care assistance. The state will lose $348,000 in job search and placement assistance, allowing it to serve 18,390 fewer people. It will also lose $1.2 million in funding to help provide meals to seniors.
TEXAS: The home of Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn would lose $67.8 million in education funding, putting 930 teaching jobs at risk and cutting funding for 280 schools and 172,000 students. Another 4,800 students would lose access to Head Start and 2,300 would lose access to child care assistance. Texas would lose more than $2 million in funds for job search and placement assistance, meaning more than 83,000 people would lose assistance. Texas will also lose $3.5 million in funding to help provide meals to seniors.
CALIFORNIA: House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy’s home state would lose $87.6 million in education funding, jeopardizing 1,210 teaching jobs and affecting funding for 320 schools and 187,000 students. More than 8,000 students would lose funding for Head Start, and 9,600 low-income students would lose funding to help pay for college. Another 2,000 families will lose child care assistance, while the loss of $3.3 million in funding for job search and placement assistance, affecting nearly 130,000 people. The state will also lose $5.4 million in funding to help provide meals to seniors.
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The latest squabble to erupt in Douglas County schools is over teacher sick days and whether teachers who have been laid off due to budget cuts are getting a shot at other district teaching jobs.
The Douglas County Federation of Teachers (DCFT) and the district’s classified employees filed a lawsuit Feb. 15 in Douglas County District Court claiming that the school district illegally refused to consider teachers for job openings after their positions had been eliminated. A second complaint over the district’s decision in July to scrap a bank of 10,000 teacher sick days was lumped with it, resulting in one lawsuit.
Dougco school board President John Carson called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
“This is a union that has tried to flood the community with misinformation and political spin in an effort to tear down the excellent reputation of our schools and our teachers,” Carson said in a statement. “We’ll deal with this frivolous lawsuit directly. But we will not allow it to distract us from what public schools are actually about-educating kids for the 21st century.”
Carson accused the union of “trying to gain rights under a collective bargaining agreement that expired last summer due to its unwillingness to work collaboratively with the school district.”
DCFT President Brenda Smith disputed the district’s comment about teachers not wanting to work collaboratively during contract talks.
“That is absolutely false,” Smith said. “The union – time and time again – tried to come to a resolution on the contract.”
Smith accused the district of violating Senate Bill 10-191, the state teacher effectiveness law, by not putting teachers who have been laid off due to downsizing in a priority hiring pool. Tenured teachers in that situation go through two hiring cycles before they are let go if they are not offered another district teaching job.
During last year’s hiring cycle, 10 veteran teachers who were laid off never even got interviews or return phone calls, Smith said. The district is in the second hiring cycle now. Six teachers attached their names to the class action lawsuit, she said.
“They basically broke state law,” Smith said. “Under state law, you have to have a priority hiring pool when you downsize….That means teachers displaced inside the system have priority for interviews when jobs come open.”
However, the system also requires “mutual consent,” meaning both the teacher and the school principal must agree on the placement.
“These are teachers who were downsized who didn’t have any sort of evaluative issues,” Smith said, noting that the 10 non-probationary teachers are now substitute teaching regularly. “If they don’t get a job, then they’re out of a position starting July 1.”
But the district contends it is following policy.
Smith said the sick day issue is especially disturbing. Previously, teachers donated one sick day per year to a sick day bank. Those days could be shared with members facing severe illness. The bank was worth more than $850,000 when the district switched to a short-term disability system arguing it was a more financially prudent system, Smith said. The suit calls for the district to reimburse teachers for those sick days.
“We’d had that for as long as we had a contract, for 40-plus years,” Smith said. “(Short-term disability) does not cover the salary of a teacher while they’re off. These do belong to teachers. (The district) did take them away without any sort of conversations.”
Now imagine seeing that ship after a 13-year absence.
When Italy held examinations to fill teaching positions in its public schools last week for the first time since 1999, it set off something of a nationwide frenzy among the country’s despairing, underemployed and unemployed educators. More than 321,000 people applied to take the tests, pursuing just 11,500 job openings.
The ratio said as much about the dim job prospects in Italy, where the unemployment rate is over 11 percent generally and nearly 14 percent for people ages 24 to 35, as it did about the rigidities and territorial mind-set of a public education system that has been dented for years by hiring freezes and budget cuts.
The exam is supposed to be held every three years, but the Education Ministry put it off repeatedly to save money, some critics say. In that time it filled vacancies with temporary hires, making aspiring teachers and unions furious.
Ministry officials say that this year’s exam is intended to right past wrongs and to introduce a new generation of teachers to a work force whose average age is now 50, one of the highest in Europe, after freezing out young applicants for so long. But it was a sign of how widely the country’s economic pain has spread that the average age of candidates taking the test this year was over 38.
Critics of the current system, with its distinction between permanent teachers and temporary hires working precariously for lower wages on contracts of a year or less, say it has become unworkable.
“It essentially kills young people, who are kept on a leash year after year,” said Marco Paolo Nigi, secretary general of the national teachers’ union, Snals-Confsal. “It’s shameful. And it’s a system we’re trying to change.”
The teaching exam last week, though it opened the way for prequalified job seekers to become teachers, became an occasion for new scrutiny of an education and hiring system that many, like Mr. Nigi, say is in need of revamping.
The test itself, the first to be administered on computers, is meant to measure logic, reading comprehension, and math and linguistic abilities. Questions included “What is a touch screen?” and choosing between “would” and “could” on the portion covering English language skills.
Some critics said the exam was a poor hiring tool because it could not measure attributes like a passion for learning and a love of children that are essential in a good teacher.
“There are better ways to determine merit,” said Romina De Cesaris, 37, a teacher of history and philosophy in Pescara, on the Adriatic coast, who has been working for 10 years on temporary contracts. “This mega-quiz is offensive for those of us who have teaching backgrounds. You can pass a quiz and still not have the didactic competence to teach students.”
While Italy’s teacher-to-student ratio is among the highest in Europe, it does not necessarily translate into better education, according to Andreas Schleicher, who advises the head of the 34-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on education matters.
“In terms of student performance, Italy is below the O.E.C.D. norm,” he said. “You have a large number of teachers, but they are poorly paid and have relatively low levels of training. Other systems prioritize the quality of teachers over the size of the classes.”
More than 260,000 candidates sat down to take the test last Monday and Tuesday, trying to answer 50 questions in 50 minutes. Thirty-five correct answers were required to pass and move on to the next phase in the lengthy hiring process; only about 34 percent of those taking the test passed.
Typical among those trying their hand was Valentina, 34, who would give only her first name out of concern for her privacy. She has been practicing law in Rome for the past eight years, but she has not managed to get a full-time job at a law firm. So she dusted off a high school certificate that allowed her to teach primary school to qualify to take the state test and perhaps change careers.
“Maybe this will work,” she said doubtfully as she waited at the gate of a high school in a middle-class neighborhood of Rome.
AROUND 50 part-time further education teachers will lose their jobs in Cork if last week’s budget cuts are implemented.
The Department of Finance last week announced a 13.5m funding cut to the Vocational Education Committee (VEC) sector, along with an increase to the pupil-teacher ratio at post Leaving Cert (PLC) level.
The funding cuts are to be implemented in non-pay related areas, however the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio from 17:1 to 19: 1 will mean that the VEC sector will be unable to retain its current teacher numbers.
Recently appointed CEO of Cork City and County VEC, Ted Owens, said the changes would mean a reduction of 25 full-time equivalent or 50 part-time teachers across Cork’s three further education colleges.
Students at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa are already campaigning to save 13 teachers who will potentially lose their jobs, including three staff from the college’s renowned performing arts department which has produced graduates including the actor Michael Fassbender and Meteor Award-winning musician Mick Flannery.
Cork College of Commerce principal Helen Ryan said she was “devastated” by news that the country’s largest further education college could lose 22 part-time teachers who deliver courses that lead to jobs, while St John’s College could possibly lose up to 15 specialised teaching staff.
Mr Owens said the loss of 50 teachers, along with non-pay related funding cuts, would have a “significant impact” on the VEC’s ability to deliver courses.
He added: “Representations are being made to the Education Minister to see if I can get him to change his mind in relation to the pupil-teacher ratio.”
Head of Performing Arts at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, Chris Ahern, said the cuts would cost the Government more in the long run.
“It seems to me that the Department of Education doesn’t understand what further education does. These cuts will close courses that actually lead to jobs in industry and will put both teachers and students on the live register.
“The Government is being completely short-sighted and creating more debt for the Exchequer by transferring the problem from the Department of Education to the Department of Social Welfare,” he said.
Teachers and a residents’ group are balking over budget cuts proposed by the Rockwood School District to balance its budget for the 2013-2014 school year.
Those budget cuts would include elementary and high school teaching positions, although actual layoffs of tenured teachers would not come until the 2014-15 year.
District officials hope they can eliminate positions through attrition without actually laying off people, but layoffs would be necessary if not enough attrition takes place.
Chief Financial Officer Tim Rooney said planned cuts in teachers jobs include 10 being dropped due to increasing elementary school class sizes, three gifted instructors, 2.5 positions lost at Rockwood Valley Middle School (the half position is due to some full-time positions possibly being shared between two teachers or part-time staff being used), and four teaching or other positions lost at the high schools based on enrollment.
Rooney said other jobs within the district that would be cut, including a reduction in administrative staff at the district’s central office, though a final number hasn’t been determined yet. Even more posts targeted for elimination include 10 custodian, seven secretarial, two maintenance and two grounds jobs.
District officials said staffing reductions and other cuts would be unnecessary if the district decides enough community support exists to put a tax increase, and possibly a capital improvements bond issue, on a ballot next year.
That possible tax increase and bond issue are being suggested through the Picture Rockwood community engagement effort now under way.
However, some teachers are contending the district should dip into its more than $16 million in reserves before making cuts that would directly affect students. District officials contend dipping into reserves could buy some time but is not a long-term solution for financial challenges.
The district is looking at a $5.1 million budget deficit for the coming school year if there is no tax increase or revenue increase, Chief Financial Officer Tim Rooney said at a Dec. 6 board of education meeting.
The board will sit down Dec. 20 to look over that budget to see if the proposed cuts are viable.
Rooney also presented a list of proposed budget recommendations, totaling almost $10.4 million, that would provide for increases in summer school, maintenance and technology upgrades and professional development classes required to implement state-mandated “common core” academic standards that will take effect in 2014.
To fund those proposals, cuts were proposed for supplies, staffing and increasing the minimum distance for bus transportation to 1.5 miles from one-half mile.
In addition, elementary school class sizes would be increased; full-day kindergarten tuition fees would go up; class sizes in elementary gifted education would be increased at the district’s Center for Creative Learning; and the kindergarten classes would be eliminated at the Center for Creative Learning.
Rooney said the district needs even more funding for proper preventive facilities maintenance, but doing that would increase costs so much that even deeper cuts would be required, which the district is highly reluctant to make.
“Usually, when there’s a deficit, we would just try to cut expenses to get rid of the deficit,” Rooney said.
“But due to the failure of a bond issue in April of this year, we now need to include at least some of those bond issue expenses in the district’s regular operating budget,” he said.
Superintendent Bruce Borchers said any staff reductions would occur over a two-year period and that some cuts recommended in the budget proposal would be through regular resignations and retirements.
He said the district hopes to help some teachers and other staff whose posts are cut switch to other positions that open up due to attrition or by laying off some nontenured teachers working under one-year contracts.
But Rooney admitted that if there isn’t enough attrition, layoffs may be necessary in the 2014-2015 school year.
The district has not decided how many teaching and administrative positions would have to be eliminated, Rooney said.
However, for the 2013-2014 school year, any person, other than nontenured teachers, holding a position that is eliminated by the budget plan will either remain in that job or be reassigned to another position, though it may not be in the same school, Rooney said.
Rockwood has suffered from the economic downturn and decreasing local assessed valuation at the same time student transportation and employee salary and benefits costs have been going up, Rooney said.
The board isn’t expected to vote on final approval of the budget until June, but residents and teacher union representatives are expressing dismay about possible reductions.
“The cuts recommended by Dr. Borchers are a disservice to the students of Rockwood,” said Suzanne Dotta, president of the Rockwood National Education Association, which represents 1,280 teachers, almost 83 percent of those teaching in Rockwood.
“Eliminating teaching jobs, raising class sizes, and cutting secretaries and custodians to fund programs and protect excessive fund balances is not in the best interests of kids,” she said. “The use of fund balances needs to be a piece of this discussion, at least in the short term.”
Dotta also contended many of the proposed cuts are being made at the school building level and are not as great at the administrative level.
She also protested cuts targeting one-year teachers, “treating them as second-class citizens and expendable.”
Eileen Tyrrell, co-founder of the Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions, a residents’ watchdog group, said she was confused that proposed budget cuts were devised without community input, while the district also is involved in a community engagement effort which hasn’t been completed.
She said she’s hearing from some residents who feel budget cuts are being threatened to encourage passage of a tax increase and possibly a bond issue.
“But residents have told me they will not support any more money until Rockwood changes its leadership to restore our trust and confidence, which have been lost due to past bad decisions that have not been acknowledged or apologized for,” Tyrrell said.