Although technically I don't have a dog in this hunt, I still have a very much loved sister-in-law whose family does. As do many other people.
The Austin ISD is looking to cut approximately 1,000 teaching positions and close 9 schools. Keeping in mind that Texas (most especially the Austin/Houston/Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas) have been the recipient of the majority of out-of-state relocators and also keeping in mind that the AISD Superintendent salary is $350,000+ and the median AISD teacher salary is $38-42K, I find this a ludicrous resolution to AISD's
"emergency financial" situation.
When did gutting become the best answer to healing two broken legs?
Here's my thoughts, and we will also keep in mind that I am not proclaiming to be any kind of educational/ financial/mathematical czar:
First, let's start with that Superintendent salary. Right off the bat I see about $200K that can be sliced right off the top there.
Second, I'm willing to bet that the majority of those 1,000 teachers would be agreeable to some type of "cut salary now, review the district's ability to bump it back up in ___ years." The same would go for benefits: get a higher deductible on the district's health insurance so the premiums would be lowered.
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of areas where the district could cut spending TEMPORARILY without having to fire teachers and close schools. And it can start at the bottom. Stop watering school lawns. Big deal if the grass dies. Ask teachers to turn out classroom lights if they have classrooms that are able to have a good source of natural daylight and turn on hallway lights only during class changes. Encourage staff to keep paper usage to a minimum - save the paper for the students' schoolwork. Staff memos and teacher information can be decimated via email or verbally. (I see a HUGE use of paper at my son's school - most of which hits our trash can.)
And this is just the little stuff. The big stuff can come in the form of a moratorium on new construction and special projects, freeze hiring, etc. But I don't think the answer is to fire hundreds of teachers and close schools. I really really don't. I think it will be harder to recover from that kind of action than it would be to recover from hardline money-saving practices implemented temporarily. And when I say temporarily, maybe best case scenario would be 1-2 years and worst case scenario would be 5-6 years.
I don't understand why the same principles that families are forced to apply to their dwindling budgets are not applied to government and business dwindling budgets.
It seems like it's all pretty much about dollars and sense.