Thursday, May 26, 2011
Passing the buck . . .
What does it mean for teachers? Well, we won't know the actual impact until we begin discussions with TEA and are able to work through all the formulas to determine our actual 20011-12 budget revenue. We do know that there will be less revenue and that the base will be reduced meaning those salaries driven by the base will be less. In reality, however, many teachers will move on the salary schedule either for experience, education, or both. This movement on the schedule will offset the reduced base providing them with a raise. Teachers at the bottom step in any column and no education increment will experience reduced salary. So, what has been touted as a 1.9% cut to teacher salary will not result in a reduction for all teachers.
For classified and administrative staff it is a different situation. There are no state salary schedules for these positions so the revenue formulas are reduced by 1.9% and 3%. In both of these cases, however, the formulas do not drive revenue close to what the district expends in salaries. So, a percentage reduction in revenue to these positions can be made up by a smaller reduction to each person's actual salary. In other words, because each person's compensation is in excess of the revenue received it takes a smaller actual salary reduction to each position to make up the total reduced revenue. Remember, they did not cut each person's actual salary, they reduced revenue. Once again, we do not know how this will all work out until we meet with the bargaining units.
Is this fair and equitable? Before answering that question I think we need to also consider what some districts will do that makes the answer to the question easier. There are districts that have a large fund balance, foundations that can raise thousands at a single event, or both. These districts have the capacity to and probably will backfill cuts to teacher salaries. We have neither. So, cuts that are not in my mind equitable and the potential for districts to respond in different ways is not what should have resulted from the drawn out budget deliberations.
It angers me when I think about the situation we find ourselves in coupled with the legislators not making the difficult decisions that would have provided us with flexibility and options in resolving the situation with our bargaining units. Once again, the difficult decisions will be ours to make and there are so many questions to consider. Do we reduce salaries and expect the same work year? Do we reduce salaries and reduce the work year? If yes, where do we reduce the work year since the 180 day and program hour requirements are still in place? What other options should we consider? What will equity look like for the bargaining units since the revenue reductions can be made up in different ways? And, . . .
Time for collaboration and problem solving.
Posted by Seeking Shared Learning at 8:39 PM