Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weeks End - Sorry this week is kind of a downer : (

Today I am starting something new.  I am wanting to use my Sunday's to wrap up my week. Kind of like a "week in review".  I stole this idea, I mean got this idea from Vicki at  I'd Rather Be At The Beach.  Vicki gives us a peek into what has been happening in her life throughout the week.  Sunday's are kind 0f hectic.  After church I come home eat lunch and then try to decide what I can cram into the rest of my afternoon.  I hope that this will take care of my Sunday Postings.

This has been a hectic week.  First I've been under the weather all week.  When feeling under the weather and backlogged with papers to grade I don't get a lot of reading accomplished.  I will be taking advantage of a three day weekend to read as much as I can and then write reviews as I can get to them.  I hope to get caught up with reading.  I don't like feeling like I'm always a step behind.

School has become very disappointing.  I pray that God will direct my steps as our county once again cuts our pay and increases our premiums on our benefits.  At the bottom of this post you will find more information about our "teaching situation".  Please pray that God will let me know what he wants me to do.  My family is barely making it, and now we have this situation.  I already spend a large portion of my paycheck on school needs.  Our printing budget for the entire school year was $50.  We were told we could add our own personal money to this at anytime so we could make more copies.  We've been making class sets of required materials because of the printing budget.  Oh, did I mention we must provide our own copy paper?

On a happier note: I received these this week in the mail to review:

I have several books I will be reading this week.  Chomp by Carl Hiaasen is top of my list.  The reason for that is my students and I will be starting "Flush" in two weeks.  It is part of our Core Curriculum.  I am so looking forward to finishing up Chomp.  I do like Carl Hiaasen's books.

My week ended with a visit from my niece, her two sons and her future husband.  She is expecting a little girl the day after my birthday.  She has picked out a very unique name for her "Essence Monet".  My mother hates it, but I like it's uniqueness.  It was good seeing her.  Due to several events, most not good, we had not seen her for 5 years.  We've seen pictures of the kids and I had last seen her and held her oldest son when he was 3 months old.  She has matured a lot.  She has promised to come back down and visit with us in the next 4 weeks.  Maybe then we'll have pictures.  I was sick so I didn't take any.

As promised here is an article about our teaching situation:

Retroactive pay cut for Manatee teachers

By Christopher O'Donnell
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:07 a.m.

MANATEE COUNTY - In a devastating night for Manatee County teachers, School Board members imposed a retroactive pay cut of 2.75 percent for this school year, raised health insurance premiums and ended automatic annual pay raises awarded for longevity.
 The moves came despite a protest by more than 300 teachers who lined Manatee Avenue West and packed the hearing, many wearing red T-shirts and holding signs saying "enough is enough."
 Even worse for teachers: the pay cut applies to this school year as well, and will be retroactive. Beginning with paychecks in March, a year's worth of salary cuts will be jammed into the 11 paychecks left in the school year.
 That means that a first-year teacher will lose $1,059 in salary, roughly $96 dollars per pay check. A teacher at the top of the pay scale would lose $153 per pay check. Teachers are paid twice monthly.
 The hearing was held because district officials declared an impasse after ongoing talks with the Manatee Education Association failed to produce agreement. The salary reductions were part of a $14 million package of cuts. By state law, the School Board acts as final arbiter in event of such a dispute.
 "I wish we didn't have to do it," said board member Bob Gause. "At the end of the year, we have to meet our budget."
 At times, the meeting descended into farce.
 Most of the pay cut was needed because board members last year demanded that McGonegal cut an extra $3 million to address a deficit in the district's health insurance fund. Yet twice board members voted against the proposals Superintendent Tim McGonegal had drafted to follow their wishes.
 And an odd silence then greeted Chairman Harry Kinnan's call for alternative proposals.
 "If you don't want to cut the pay, tell us where you will get the money," Kinnan said to his fellow board members.
 Clearly frustrated, Gause traded criticism with board member Julie Aranibar, who he said had supported the district's position in executive sessions held outside public view.
 "I've tried to be fair — I've tried to be fiscally responsible," he said. "At this point, I need my colleagues to come up with something we can support."
 The pay cut eventually passed by a 3-2 vote with Aranibar and Karen Carpenter voting against.
 The outcome could have been worse for teachers. The pay cut will be achieved through two enforced furlough days and a pay cut, meaning salaries will automatically go back up by 1 percent next school year.
 The board also decided to adopt lower health insurance premiums than originally proposed. Premiums will rise by about 20 percent.
 The board already cut pay for administrative and clerical staff who are not represented by unions, with top administrators taking a 5 percent pay cut. Principals and assistant principals received a 3 percent pay cut.
The vote to end annual automatic pay raises was also controversial.
Assistant Superintendent Scott Martin said the longevity awards tied the district's hands during difficult budget years.
Bruce Proud, Manatee Education Association business agent, warned that without the raises teachers with classroom experience would be paid the same as first-year teachers.
Superintendent Tim McGonegal withdrew a proposal that would force teacher assistants and aides to take three furlough days.
That would have saved the district about $200,000 but cost some of the district's lowest paid staff almost $300 per year.
Board members decided last year to spare school bus drivers and cafeteria staff from any pay cuts.
Teachers who attended the meeting said their presence had clearly given the board pause for thought.
"It made them see that it's not just a bottom line, that there are people out there who will be hurt by these cuts," said Laura Moran, a biology teacher with 35 years teaching experience.
 But there was still recognition that despite the protest, teachers' pay and benefits have taken another hit. Teacher pay was cut by 1 percent in 2008-09 school year.
 "It's terrible for morale," said Jeff Lego, a music teacher at Tillman Elementary School. "Everyone is overworked as it is."

This is our situation in a nutshell.  My suggestion is to cut from the top.  Each of those people start at 6 figures while ours just keeps dropping.  I am even for an all volunteer school board, as in no pay.

I promise the next Sunday post will not be quite so depressing.  Things have to get better Right??  : )

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