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Archive for March 13th, 2009

Thoughts About Teachers, Schools & Budgets

Posted by drewbendon on March 13, 2009

In their grade school careers, my boys have had 7 separate teachers.  Of them, I’d say that 2 were excellent teachers and a 3rd was very inspiring and got a good deal out of my son.  The best of them got a pink slip today.  And if I can guess at how the seniority system works out I would guess that one of the other two did as well.  Of course that doesn’t mean Piedmont will lose them, but if we do, I have to wonder why.  Do we have to lose the best ones?  Consider this …

The current budget of PUSD listed on the website is $28,370,960.00.  We are regularly told that roughly 90% of that budget ($25,533,864.00)  is salaries & benefits.  The current budget deficit we are told, is $1,500,000.00 or roughly 5.8% of the salaries/benefits the district pays.  Could we save all the teachers in the district for next year if all employees agreed to take a pay/benefit cut of 6%  (maybe slightly more depending on what percent of the $5.45 million paid in benefits is for retiree benefits) for one year?  Or might the union have conditionally agreed to a reduction pending the outcome of the parcel tax and other budget discussions as a way to spare the teachers on the bubble the impact of Pink Friday?

Unions have done great things for workers as a whole.  As they saying goes, they brought us the weekend.  But I have to wonder if they’ve become too bulky to adjust to the fast changing circumstances of our economy and if society as a whole will suffer for it.  Is it finally time to consider some revisions to the tenure system?  Or how we manage retirement systems or health benefits for such large organizations?  Or to repeal Prop. 13, at least on commercial properties?

All I know is that there has to be a better way than losing the best teacher we’ve experienced at Havens because of an arcane, unadaptable system.


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