Similar Situation, Different Results

During the April 15 Board meeting, Yowell--in an effort to refute Brad Reed's assertion that primary and secondary schools plan a five year budget despite all possible funding variables--stated "our ability to plan a budget is unlike elementary and secondary schools."

A recent article from The Arizona Republic shows that the Yowell model of preventative firings is very much like some the way some primary and secondary school systems operate. The newspaper reports 5,500 state employees, including 4,000 teachers have been fired: "
Most school districts have issued layoff notices because they still do not have a state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. They also had to comply with a state law requiring them to tell teachers by April 15 whether their jobs might be cut."

Arizona is in a similar situation of budget uncertainty: "Many district governing boards waited until the last two weeks , hoping that the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer would hand them a budget sooner than later. School district officials and board members said they had to estimate future funding based on conversations with legislators and lobbyists. Districts believe they will receive 10 to 15 percent less state money than the current school year because of a looming $3.3 billion state revenue shortfall. They purposely overestimated the severity of the state cuts as a precaution."

There's no word if they got the idea from Yowell or if Yowell got his idea from the state of Arizona. The major differeince is state officials seem to care about the consequences of blind firing:

"State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has said these preemptive layoffs have spread unnecessary fear. 'It's very damaging to give notices, layoffs, to teachers who they're going to hire back,' Horne said. It's ruining morale, he said, and chasing some qualified teachers out of education, or at least out of the state. But education groups argue that districts had to take action or risk lawsuits for breaching contracts. The state teachers union, the Arizona Education Association, said the full scope of layoffs is much more dire after conducting its own survey of 36 districts. The teachers union believes up to 10,000 school employees will be out of jobs next year."

Additionally, it seems that teacher unions have some input on just how to save districts money without cutting jobs:

"Their measures to address the projected deficit vary, from pay cuts to shorter workweeks to furloughs. Fowler Elementary District in Phoenix didn't issue any layoffs but cut 13 positions through attrition, said Superintendent Marvene Lobato. Chino Valley Unified School District, north of Prescott and Payson, will have a four-day school week. In Mayer Unified School District, officials said the superintendent has accepted a pay cut to keep teachers on board. Some districts have talked with their local union to target cuts. Several, including Paradise Valley Unified School District, decided against renewing agreements with teachers on one-year contracts brokered through phased retirement firms. The Arizona Education Association argues that those employees, although many have 25 years-plus in education, are just on contract and aren't entitled to jobs that could be taken by younger teachers."

How shameful it is for school administrators to take consideration of the common plebian educator, have they no sense of entitlement? No wonder their school system is falling apart, they listen to their staff.

While we can't fully compare Edison's situation to the situation of the entire state of Arizona, we can see how paniced decisions by those in power can cause people to lose confidence in those decision makers. However, the actions of those affected by poor decisions help restore a little confidence in the solidarity of the majority of our own colleagues, who are willing to fight just as hard.

You can see the full article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, in the case of folks in Arizona, they did it to avoid legal liability, where in Ohio, at Edison, it was done without regard to legal liability, and actually may have the effect of incurring it.