Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Equal Parts Guilt & Frustration

So, California did not pass the ballot measures relating to our dismal budget / financial woes. This has far-reaching impact on our state, but I’ll leave that to the political pundits. I am joked out.

However, the impact that has on my school district is severe. At the board meeting last night as the ballots were being tallied, our board voted to lay off 53 teachers. These are my friends & colleagues. We might have half again as many students in our classrooms & have to buy our supplies ourselves & take a pay cut. Any one of these would be depressing, but together they are truly saddening. Even worse is knowing that people are losing their jobs (and possibly homes).

One of my friends is married to man with nine years in his district & he got a pink slip. Nine years! Our school district isn’t in as dire straits (and thank goodness, as I’ve only been teaching for six years), but I still am lost as to my response when confronted with those people (some of who are working their last day tomorrow – off track in June at our year-round school).

I just tried to type out some sarcastic comments that I’d never make, but even they sound pathetic. I am ending this journal entry because I cannot believe I am whining when I’m not even getting laid off, but this economy = shitty!

Uncertainty

This is an uncertain time economically, of course, and that uncertainty has shaken our little school district quite a bit. A small district, we boast less than a dozen schools but a closely knit community, and I have always been happy teaching here. Repeatedly, I’ve said that the best part of working in this district was knowing that the administrators, teachers, classified staff & volunteers are all working toward what’s best for the children (and, sadly, not all districts are as hands on & child-centric as mine is).

That said, it’s breaking my heart to see the strife caused by our uncertain state budget and its ramifications on my profession in general, district & school in specific. We currently have six third-grade teachers at my site. If we stay at a 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, we’ll keep those six or even have seven classes next year. If we move to 25-to-1, one teacher is bumped. If we move to 30-to-1, two teachers might be bumped. At best, they’d be moved to other grades at our school. If not at our school, they could be moved to other sites at any grade level. At worst, they’d have no job.

These are my friends & colleagues whose futures are so uncertain. It’s my first student teacher, the girl who sat across from me at Bunco a couple of weeks ago, the woman whose baby shower I just attended, the girl whose hiring committee I sat on, the lady with whom I chat on yard duty, my grade level teammates & site colleagues… and it’s killing me to watch them unable to plan their futures.

We might know what’s going on by the end of May. We might¬†know by the time our year-round school is slated to begin (July 7). We might know mid-August (after which some tracks will have been in session for 6 weeks).

I know that everyone is feeling the pinch, and – trust me – I know how lucky I am to know I have a job next year. It’s not the layoffs per se that are causing such discontent. It’s the uncertainty.

The worst part of all of this is that every single person in our district – from the superintendent to the yard duties at lunch – just want to know… and we don’t. We can’t begin fixing our problems until we know what they are, and our problems aren’t in our hands, which is extremely frustrating. Argh.

Depressing Homes

The best part about looking for a home in today’s market (in Central California, at least) is the enormous amount of variety available.

The worst part is knowing that most of these homes are empty because the former occupants have been evicted from their dream home. To compound the depressing-ness of it all, many of the photos of those homes show cheerful family pictures up.

It makes me feel like a vulture.