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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Area veteran teachers brace for pay cuts (draft)

While brand new teachers in St. Johns county get a six thousand dollar raise, veteran teachers, if they got the best and brightest bonus or school recognition money, are about to get a pay cut. Coming soon to Clay and Duval Counties.  

People who have dedicated their lives to the children of the area are about to either lose money or not see any notable pay raise. Welcome to Florida 

From News4Jax,

“It’s an unfair bill for veteran teachers. Although the people at the lower end of the pay salary scale will be moved up, veteran teachers are going to get a much lesser raise,” St. Johns Education Association Chief Negotiator Justin Vogel said.

The article talks about a two percent raise for veteran teachers. For me, that would be about a thousand dollars or about what I received for being effective from the best and brightest bonus. As first-year teachers get a 6 grand raise, somebody like me would break even. However, if you were like me and at a school that got school recognition money, you have just lost money. 

Now I think B&B and school recognition money programs were deeply flawed and even unfair, but at the end of the day, they put money into teacher's pockets. 

It's worse though, the insults keep coming; a teacher on my step when I started made about ten grand more than I will now. So not only are veteran teachers making less than their predecessors, they will be making pennies more than new teachers.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for new teachers making more, but there should be a way to do it without screwing over veteran teachers.

Florida. #$@&ing, Florida.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

District staff to start subbing... sort of... (draft)

 You know I wish I didn't have to write pieces like this, ones where I point out how little the district cares about its staff, and this time they are showing it by doing as little as possible to avert the subbing crisis or lack of sub crisis if you will, that is going on in the district. To help out, district staff for two days only will be subbing in our schools, then it's back to good luck getting a sub. 

Next week, district staff with at least sixty credit hours and who don't have meetings may be placed in our schools to the sub. I am not sure if they are doing this willingly or being voluntold. When I asked the district this is what they told me.

To answer your question regarding “the district planning on having staff with more than 60 credit hours start subbing,” we anticipated a need for additional subs during the Thanksgiving Holiday week. One of the ways we are planning to meet that need is by using district administrative personnel. Many have extensive teaching experience, and all meet the requirements of performing as a substitute teacher.  


This is not the first time we have used district staff to cover classrooms. You may recall that we used this option last year so teachers could attend the “Rally in Tally.”  This is a voluntary option for staff members, and they are not receiving any additional compensation.  

To be honest, I don't remember district staff subbing last January, but if they did, awesome. That being said, what about all the unfilled positions this week, or the ones after Thanksgiving? Is it too bad, so sad?

I get it district staff has jobs, I mean other than those looking for our learning arcs, so it would be unsustainable to get them in the classrooms on a full-time basis, but something other than denying there is a problem has to be done.

They could hire staff to subs, Vitti did it, we had two years of each school having a full-time sub, and let's pay for it with CARES money. Detroit, which is now completely virtual, is half our size got twice as much money.

If not, how about making subbing worthwhile instead of insulting, pay teachers 40 or sixty bucks instead of the cringeworthy18. Or give them however long they sub in extra PTO, you know, so they won't have to make up the planning time they missed at home. 

Let's lighten loads by postponing learning arcs and standard-based bulletin boards, and let's cancel common planning. If it's important, send the PowerPoint to me in an email instead of forcing me to watch it when I have a couple dozen other things going on.

There are solutions beyond making teachers miserable and overwhelming them.

The district needs to come up with them.

I hate writing pieces pointing out the district doesn't care, but sadly that's all I seem to be writing these days.   

Monday, November 2, 2020

City Hall guaranties 22 million dollar KIPP loan

 Remember when the city council demanded to know every detail of the 15 year 1.3 billion dollar referendum? Well okaying a 22 million dollar loan for the KIPP school didn't merit one question. Not a chirp, nothing.  

I have some issues and I think you should too.

The city already routinely gives KIPP hundreds of thousands of dollars extra. It gave them 631k early this year.

Though we have really given them millions

Two of the members of the Neighborhood Committee have taken money from Gary Chartrand, you know, the one behind the KIPP school. Ju'Coby Pitman, tens of thousands, and Rory Diamond, a cool million.

It, however, gets even worse.  The KIPP network just took in tens of millions in pandemic CARES cash.

This on the heels of huge grants they have received in recent years.

Plus they will undoubtedly reap tens of millions from the referendum.

Why are we guarantying their loans again?

This is the bottom line, over and over again the city throws money at the KIPP school and Gray Chartrand who both founded the KIPP school and is owed millions by it. The mayor and city council fought against the referendum and the school system for the most part so Chartrand could get paid. They are going to cost the school system hundreds of millions of dollars so their donor can make bank. 

It's outrageous.

How charters will make money off the referendum.