Field notes: Welcome (back) to the funding cliff

Last year at this time I was unveiling my Share the Pain plan (I liked the coincidence that STP is a famous fuel additive, ?with the racer's edge"), which included a staff salary freeze and cutting out busing for anyone who lived within a half mile of school.? Those two items alone would have saved nearly a million dollars and the jobs of a couple dozen teachers.? Alas, unlike the racer's edge, my STP went nowhere and a lot of teachers and other staff went looking for work.

This year, I'm mainly watching as the crowd gathers at the cliff's edge.? I did, however, pass on Stretching the School Dollar to my board colleagues and do also share suggestions that come my way, including this wonderful stream-of-conscious Blackberry email from a veteran elementary school teacher: ?

Ok, well, here are some thoughts.?

Co-integrated classrooms are not working.? We need more self-contained special education classes.? Instead of having two teachers in a classroom.? Have one.? Extra Content classes in [the school] are horrible and a waste of time and not working.??Have one special area teacher to one class for even one period a day- it would be better.? Give us more time in the class!? More teaching time....?? As for our building... we have four counselors that really don't do a hell of a lot.? Cut them, and make the ones work.? Or, have them?act as behavior person.. one period a day.. so we don't need to spend the money for an associative.??Teachers keep getting more and more put on them... why do others not have added burdens?

Data and testing is great- but we need to TEACH, not test!!!?

Grants.. we've got to get more grants...

We've got to stop wasting supplies... we are copying tooooooo much... Journeys [a reading program] is ok, but the amount we are copying is horrible!? Waste of?time, money, and learning.

Let's stop getting so many different people coming?in and presenting... have those people come in and work with kids... We have a stair [S3TAIR, Supporting Successful Strategies to Achieve Improved Results] grant and teachers are being taken out of classes... why don't we use the money to have professionals?come into classes and work one on one or one on two with kids.?

Why do I drive by [the school] all hours of the day and night and see lights on... simple things will help us save money... why can't lights be shut off with battery operated low lights in hall, if needed for security..

Custodians.. someone should show up in the evening shift and see how much work is not being done.... We're wasting money.. in today's economy there are people who need jobs and want jobs.. why are we paying people that continuously don't work...

We need more accountablity with everyone

Now, this is a teacher you want on your bus!

--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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