Thursday, January 24, 2008

M is for money

...or lack thereof. 
Just before the contract vote, the city came out with the info that the school department's business manager messed around with the school budget and payed last year's bills with this year's money. Not only did he do that, but he underfunded some major line items. This all added up to a 4.9 million dollar deficit. That's a big chunk of change. 
Word came down that there would be major layoffs within a matter of weeks. This is not good news anytime, but especially mid-year. No child needs to lose their teacher right smack in the middle of the school year.
I will not have tenure until next September, so technically I was on the chopping block. We heard on a Monday that we would know by the following Friday who was being cut and who was safe. Tensions were high on Friday, I was literally sick to my stomach. I was feeling like my job was maybe okay, but it was that small level of uncertainty that just made me feel awful. Let's face it, even if it wasn't going to be me, it was going to be some of my friends.
Every time I heard the principal's heels coming down the hall my stomach would do that roller coaster flip-flop, I was sure she was coming for me, pink slip in hand. 
Thankfully when she did come for me, it was to tell me to relax, I was just fine and not going anywhere. I kept my emotions in check ( I'm not a public emoter) but I wanted to scream, yell, and engage in general merriment!
All in all our school got off lightly because of some very good foresight from our principal. We had an open federally funded position, so although she had to combine three classes into two, on of those teachers moved into the funded position, so we lost a class, but not a body. 
Other schools did not fare so well. In all, 29 teachers were cut from their respective schools, 70+ other personnel were also let go, that included specialist, support staff and custodians. 
It was not a good week for our public school system, but something happened to make me feel the proudest I have ever been to live in such a great city.

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