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Sunday, September 25, 2022

DCPS sits on 20 million dollars that could be used to pay staff

 I have a feeling it may actually be more.

I am beyond disappointed that the district told the community these were desperate times and we needed to pass a millage increase to help pay salaries, and then after it passed, shrugged their shoulders and said, we will get to that next year. The fact they are sitting on a little over 20 million they could use doesn't help things. 

The district is required to keep three percent in reserves, not 5.07 percent. This means they are sitting on 20 million n dollars that they could use to address staff salaries.

A couple of things, I and most of the city was led to believe something would happen this school year. I was told it would probably be after the winter break.

Everyone knows that when you pass a mileage increase on Monday, money doesn't start to flow in on Tuesday. I figured they would borrow money using the future money as collateral, something they have done many times or they would take from their excess reserves, which right now is 20 million dollars.

I would have supported the mileage increase even if the district would have said it wouldn't kick in until next year, but they never said that. Then if it was so important that the district had to come hat in hand to ask the community to step up, how is waiting till next year to address it even a consideration?

DCPS has long preferred to look good rather than be good, and this is yet another example.     

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The solution to helping teachers has been staring us in the face, it is more work

 I am working on a piece about planning in our elementary schools, and it is abysmal. Now just about every teacher will tell you they need more planning but what we do to the teachers in elementary schools, especially those smaller schools that don't have a full complement of resources, is criminal. This blog, however, is not about that; instead, its about helping all teachers and by having them work more.

Teachers in my district work 7.33 hours a day. I say it that way because that's what I am supposed to put on my leave forms. What would happen if teachers worked 8 hours a day and that extra 40 was additional duty-free planning? I think it would help solve some of our problems. 

That would be the key, though, additional duty-free planning. Districts couldn't look at it, or the other planning teachers and think of ways to load teachers up even more.

Right now, much of my "planning" is already designated for other things. A fifth has been set for common planning, and as an ESE teacher, about 48 of my planning periods, a quarter of my total, will be spent either writing or having IEP meetings. This means almost half of my planning won't be spent, um, planning.    

There are lots of issues in education, and this isn't going to solve the lack of support and respect issues; no, we have to work on the soul of the country to help solve those problems, but it will help with the lack of time and a little with pay too as this would amount to an almost 8 percent bump in pay.

Most teachers work 10-15 and even more unpaid hours after their duty time ends each week. Time they should be with their families or taking care of themselves. An extra 3 hours and twenty minutes a week will help with that. Not solve it, mind you, because the system depends on suckers, err sorry dedicated teachers sacrificing their time and energy, and without it, things would grind to a halt, but it would help.  

So powers that be, if you care about teachers and I have doubts that you do, figure out a way to work them more. It will help us all. 



Wednesday, September 14, 2022

In a letter to Jax Today, the district all but tells teachers to expect mileage money this year (draft)

 I feel duped and betrayed by the announcement the mileage change won't kick in this year, and I know I am far from the only one. Before you lambast me for not understanding, money won't start immediately; I did understand that, and I didn't expect any mileage money until after the holidays; read what the district told Jax Today just a few short weeks ago.

From Jax Today

In an email to Jacksonville Today, a Duval County Public Schools spokesperson says there are three reasons the district chose to bring the tax increase to voters in August instead of November. The first: because “the teacher shortage is real, so the sooner they know about their future salaries the sooner we can impact that trend.”

The district also wanted to start union negotiations for the pay increase as soon as possible.

Um, as things stand now, passing the mileage will do nothing to help this year, absolutely nothing, despite it being sold as a necessity to fend off a pending disaster, and that's how the district sold the mileage rate for months. Help us, please; we need to save our teachers; there was never a "we will do it next year" caveat.

Then how hollow are those excuses? We have to get it done quick so we can get the ball rolling, well friends, that ball screached to an almost immediate halt.

I never expected the district to have mileage money this year, not for a second; I did expect the district would borrow money on expected income and or tap into their reserves to start things off, something I believe they could still do if they wanted to. If they were sincere about taking care of its people, but the reality is DCPS has never cared about its staff; we are all just a means to an end, and up till recently, an easily replaceable means to an end. 

You may not have been one of them, but lots of people voted for the mileage increase with the expectation something would kick in this year, and those people were tricked, and if you want evidence, look at every single thing the district said about it.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

DeSantis's failed teacher pay scheme

 As election season ramps up, so do the lies and half-truths, and as a teacher, the one that infuriates me the most is DeSantis claiming he raised teacher salaries. The truth is he did raise salaries for beginning teachers, people who had never been in a classroom, but he did so by cutting the salaries of veteran teachers, people who had dedicated their lives to the state's children.

To raise beginning salaries, the state took money from two programs, Best and Brightest, and school recognition funds, two admittedly flawed programs that mostly benefitted teachers in affluent schools but did put money in veteran teachers’ pockets. The effect was tens of thousands of veteran teachers took pay cuts. So while DeSantis was saying look at me, look what I did, veteran teachers were looking at their bank accounts shrink.

Then think about the plan that DeSantis was so proud of. He made it so that a teacher who just started and a teacher who spent over a decade in our schools was paid basically the same. He did not just shrug his shoulders at this disrespect, but he reveled in it. He could have made it, so every teacher got roughly a 2,700-dollar raise, but no, he decided hurting people who had dedicated their lives to the children of Florida was the way to go, and now we are reaping what has sown with none thousand teacher vacancies a problem he promised would go away with his teacher pay scheme.

DeSantis has been a failed education leader for many reasons, but one of the biggest and most unnecessary was his teacher pay scheme that robbed Peter, veteran teachers, to pay Paul, people who had never even stepped foot in a classroom. 


Saturday, September 3, 2022

The school board should consider firing Greene before they can't. What comes next will be worse.(draft)

 DeSantis replaced most of the Broward county school board. Four democrat women, with four republican men, and they promptly took over.

DeSantis used grand jury findings as his reason for doing so; the same grand jury now has DCPS in its crosshairs. 

From Florida Politics, 

 The grand jury report that shook up the Broward County School Board last week also prompted the state Department of Education to send letters to four other school districts warning of failures to follow the state’s school safety requirements.

The letters arrived Monday asking superintendents in Broward, Duval, Orange, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties to meet with officials from the State Department of Education (DOE) to address items that Tim Hay, director of the Office of Safe Schools said required an in-person meeting due to the “gravity of the issues.”

“We have reason to believe that some of the policies and actions the grand jury found are ongoing and require immediate action,” all five letters dated Monday say.

What has to be most troubling in the grand jury findings is the DCPS police chief was allowed to keep his job a year after the findings had come out...

and Duval Schools administration enabled Edwards' actions, the report says.

DeSantis is coming for duly elected democratic school board members in blue counties, and Willie, Jones, Hershey, and Andersen may all be replaced in the next few days or weeks. If you don't think it could ever happen here, look at Broward County. The Governor is not a man who plays by the rules; like a fascist, he makes the rules up as he goes along.

A couple of things. You might think Greene's been great and the district should keep her; well, she hasn't, and even her victories, the referendum, and millage have been two steps forward and one step back. The referendum didn't pass until after the district was forced to give charter schools hundreds of millions of dollars, and the district has still not committed to giving staff milage money this year. After some token resistance to Tallahassee when she started, she has been all in on the destructive agenda because, in my opinion, there is only one person Greene cares about, and that is Greene.

Hershey's a republican; they would never let her go. Hershey has been a reliable supporter of public ed and accept those calculated hiccups when she considered running for state office as a solid school board member. The Governor wouldn't hesitate to cut her if it meant a complete takeover of the school board.

How could the Governor keep Joyce and get rid of Willie? Well, I could see a scenario where the Governor says he was in leadership on the board, and Joyce was not. Her incompetence, in effect, saved her. 

Couldn't Greene resign and take the hit for DCPS after all, she has to be at least partly and probably mostly responsible. HAHAHAHAHAHa good one; I couldn't imagine her doing anything that doesn't advance or serve her agenda. 

The board could preempt any moves by DeSantis by laying all the problems on Greene's feet, where I am sure they rightfully belong, and move on. Heck, if they rush things, they could have a new super in place before our insurrectionist Barbie sb member is sworn in.

I get the board has inexplicably been some of Greene's biggest cheerleaders, but if they don't do something soon, they may never be able to do something, and what comes next will be worse for everyone, everyone that cares about public ed, that is.