Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear School Board

It's been all over the news lately about school districts needing to make cuts to the budget. The school district that I am in is no different. I'm not here to point fingers as to whose fault it is. It doesn't really matter at this point. We're at a crossroads and we need to work together to get through. 

In my district 223 teachers were given pink slips this week. Add to that number 120 support people. With two children in elementary school, this troubles me. Hubby and I moved to this area for the reputation of the school district. Now we find ourselves looking at private schools to ensure a quality education for our kids. My kids deserve the best and I'm not sure that my school district can provide that quality education anymore. Can I make some suggestions from a parents point of view? 

At our particular elementary school there is a receptionist and an office manager. The woman who is our receptionist is perfect for the job. She's friendly and knows everybody. The office manager sits right behind her with a plate glass window between them. If the receptionist isn't at her desk for whatever reason, the office manager will look at you and let you wait til the receptionist comes back. Why is she there in that position? If the receptionist has to be away from her desk for an extended period of time, volunteers will cover for her. Why doesn't the office manager cover for her? What is there for her to manage? 

In the months of October and March my school district has free breakfast for all of the children. Everyday. It needs to stop. Imagine how much is spent on those breakfasts each day in the entire school district. I know it's for the benefit of those children who don't get a quality breakfast before school each day. Have you seen what they serve as the free breakfast? Give me a break! It's the parents responsibility to make sure the children have a full stomach when they arrive to take on the challenges of the day. I am painfully aware that there are parents out there whose last priority is to make sure their kids have breakfast. It's time to stop being lazy and think about our children. Put them first. 

Next month the district will celebrate with an employee service and retirement banquet at Southfork Ranch. Followed the next month by a teacher of the year banquet and The Plano Centre. Why do we need a separate celebration for these? Why can't these things be celebrated in a school gym like school dances and spirit rallies? If they should be celebrated in a economic times like we are in, isn't there somewhere that's a little more budget friendly? I understand that we need to keep the morale up for our teachers, but we also need to get a grip and buckle down. There are too many people that will suffer because of budget constraints. 

The average salary of the Central Administrative support is $88,178*. That's the salary for someone who is in the pretty buildings who don't have to share bathrooms or breathing space with the kids in their school district. The average teacher salary is $52,375*. Am I the only one who sees the imbalance here? Some of the people in the pretty buildings need to visit the classrooms a little more often to see who the outstanding teachers really are. I would at least like to see them show what their value is. Why do they get paid what they get paid? Why are they an asset instead of a liability? 

I realize that teachers are making what the market calls for, but is there that much paper to be shuffled around in the pretty buildings? 

Then, there are some teachers who shouldn't be teaching. I spend an adequate amount of time in my kids school by volunteering. There are some teachers that SHOULD BE given the pink slip. There are some that just have the job because they need something to fill their days with. Bye bye! I want teachers for my kids that WANT to be there. They know going in that they don't get paid millions of dollars, but they do it for the love of spreading knowledge. They do it because they want to share in the experience of growing minds and expanding creativity. 

I don't have a degree in education. I don't have a degree in finance. I'm just a mom who wants the best for her kids. I'm a citizen of the district who wants to prevent anymore pink slips going out to teachers who love what they do and who make a difference. I'm a person who wishes that common sense was a little more common. 

When making difficult, yet necessary cuts to education spending it's irresponsible and insulting to teachers and taxpayers for administrators to suggest that in-classroom spending be the first to go**. 

Cuts need to be made in public education.....but not in the classroom. 


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