Superintendent Recommends School Budget Cuts

Ron Hutchinson, superintendent of Charlottesville schools, has made his budget recommendation to the school board, and it’s ugly. There’s a $1.76M shortfall, or 3% of the budget, resulting in the worst funding situation in memory and requiring that Hutchinson recommend a large number of cuts. All but a million of that is a result of an adjustment in state funding. 61% of the school budget comes from local funds, 31% from state funds, and 8% from federal funds, but unfunded mandates like the state Standards of Learning and the federal No Child Left Behind Act have left the schools scrambling to find the money for these new obligations. Since much of the cost of funding schools is staff, Hutchinson has recommended eliminating a number of faculty positions, while sticking to his assurance of a 6% raise to work on making teacher pay competitive. Julie Stavitski has the story in today’s Progress.

46 thoughts on “Superintendent Recommends School Budget Cuts”

  1. My comments will be shocking to many, so put on your ‘free-thinker’ hats. I am going to ram it right up the common “wisdoms” here…

    In my experience, public school teachers are *too* well paid:

    · More often than not, their knowledge is shaky even in the subjects they teach;

    · They work only 38-40 weeks per year and many of them really don’t work a full 40 hours/week, no matter how much moaning and groaning they do;

    · They have an ironclad job security no other employer can match;

    · They have automatic raises EVERY year;

    · They have subsidized and generous health care;

    · They have more breaks and more available time than most of us;

    · They work in a different world to everyone else, as they think they are not accountable like in the “real world”.

    The decision to *eliminate* assistant teachers to pay even more the teachers is very very stupid. In my experience, many of the assistant teachers are in fact better than the actual teachers. They are often there because they’ve got a late calling as to what they like to do in life. Assistant teachers allow for a more orderly and well managed day, especially with the younger children. They are under-valued and the teacher is over-valued.

    The fact is, many so-called teachers in public schools would not be able to ‘hack it’ in the real world. Paying them more is not going to attract or keep really talented people. That is propaganda initiated by those who stand to benefit from their own lobbying. Suppressing the teacher assistants in the small grades is small-minded and detrimental.

    All the wrong moves. What else is new with government?

  2. You have made quit an argument for how this is the wrong move, but what would you do to fix it? Imagine you are the superintendent facing a 1.76m shortfall. What would you do?

  3. Before I answer that, I’d like everyone to take notice that all the public schools are still closed today. Why can’t they drag their asses to work like everyone else? Monday, fine, that was a big snow day. Many people didn’t make it to work. But Tuesday, Wednesday and now today? What are parents supposed to do with their kids when they have professional obligations? Most can’t take them to work. Many folks don’t have family that can take the children. Yet these “public servants” don’t like to serve; they think of themselves rather as a privileged group, just like our federal government!

    Now for my answer: Locally, the super should not be suppressing the very much needed teacher assistants, and certainly not offering 9% salary increases. Teachers are privileged bureaucrats that will offer their services anyway, even if they [only] get increases indexed to inflation (around 1-2%), which is better than many folks get.

    But a bureaucracy like public schools took quite some time to screw up, so it would take that much more effort to fix! First, schools should be run like businesses in the many ways they could do so without affecting the quality and academic independence they deserve. What I’m saying is it’s *not* okay to have Pizza Hut sponsor the cafeteria, but it is good to consolidate operations. Why does every county and little locality have separate budgets and processes? A corporation would never have every local schmo make budgets and all that. How about suppressing the superintendent? How much is he paid? What about all his staff and corollary budgets for office space and all that jazz? Richmond could control budgets and assign tasks and procedures throughout Virginia. Salaries would be indexed statewide to the local costs of living.

    But as you know, within the current political context, this would not fly well by local politicians and figureheads who subsequently mind meld the populace into obedience.

    I know this is not what you want to hear. It’s much more reassuring to think things are what they are for a GOOD reason and that it doesn’t help to criticize if a solution is not offered. My solution is we need to completely overhaul our political process, but that won’t happen until the mid-10’s (as in 2010), when things get so bad for a majority of Americans that they’ll be willing – finally – to guillotine their leaders.

  4. >>>> Since much of the cost of funding schools is staff, Hutchinson has recommended eliminating a number of faculty positions, while sticking to his assurance of a 6% raise to work on making teacher pay competitive<<<<<<

    I see this statement a lot. I am always puzzled. Competitive with "whom" or "what" is never given nor to what end and effect. It ranks right up there with the other rallying cry "but it`s for the children" ornamented with a plaintive rise and fall of the voice. Let the parents worry about the children – just teach school. Stop using "It`s for the children" to feather your own nest.

    It has been my experience the better class of employee is motivated by considerations other than salary.

    I think it is indicative of our priorities when another story was lamenting the curtailing of "spring break" – Tough. Let`s get our priorities straight. Snow, ice, and the resultant consequences are a part of life. Get real.

    By the way I concur with many of Sympaticos` comments.

    PS Since when is Hutchinson authorized to "assure" pay increases? Overstepping a bit I think. A good boss/ administrator doesn`t promise what he can`t guarantee to deliver.

  5. Symp,

    Here — which does seem an abberation — I think you are full of shite, or perhaps just trying to stir the pot on this board. But clearly you have never been a public school teacher in the Charlottesville area.

  6. But clearly you have never been a public school teacher in the Charlottesville area.

    You obviously have a closely vested interest.

    As for your gratuitous attempt to make light of my comments, let me make myself clear: I am not attempting to destabilize this online board. I sincerely believe I have a pertinent point to make. But then, your ploy to discredit me is typical of your type.

  7. >>> I think it is indicative of our priorities when another story was lamenting the curtailing of "spring break" – Tough. Let`s get our priorities straight. Snow, ice, and the resultant consequences are a part of life. Get real. <<<

    I’m still confused as to why school children get a "spring break". And I hear the area kids talking about going to the beach, etc – Are they trying to compete with the college age for the "Gone Wild" series?

    I did not get a spring break in any of the many schools I attended. (My father was transferred about every 3 years). So the idea of this is still quite new to me. I think all of my various schools in VA and PA had the same set up – we had teacher workdays once a quarter, we got 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 days at Easter and about 6 snow days built into the calendar. I graduated on May 22 from a HS in Wise, VA!

    I know we have outlying areas but geez, Wise is full of gravel road hollers but we still managed to get to school. Buses had chains. And since it counts for a day if you make it until lunch, if it wasn’t snowing and the roads were clear enough – we went to school! And it was just as much a pain for our folks back then as it would be now. All I seem to see around here is "Oh no, its gonna snow this evening. We better cancel school for today and tomorrow."

  8. Sympleton writes:”They [Assitant teachers] are often there because they’ve got a late calling as to what they like to do in life."

    I think they are there because they can’t qualify to be teachers, according to guidelines the representatives of we-the-people have set. That is to say, the teaching assistants needn’t have been to college, much less graduated.

    But they are well meaning, underpaid, loving (mostly feamle, and with maternal experience) people. But that doesn’t teach your kid to read or pass the SOLs.

  9. Cornelius writes:It has been my experience the better class of employee is motivated by considerations other than salary.
    […] Competitive with ‘whom’ or ‘what’ is never given nor to what end and effect. It ranks right up there with the other rallying cry . . .

    In so far as I understand, the local school systems aggressively court the top graduates from UVa’s Ed School, who are evaluating several factors in their career choices, including salary. And for many, the greater salary of NoVa schools can outweigh whatever ‘lifestyle’ qualities local living might boast.

  10. Belle said, "In so far as I understand, the local school systems aggressively court the top graduates from UVa’s Ed School, who are evaluating several factors in their career choices, including salary. And for many, the greater salary of NoVa schools can outweigh whatever ‘lifestyle’ qualities local living might boast."

    Well Belle, I was not speaking of the local life style as an inducement or motivator, although I agree that could be a favorable factor

    for job consideration in Charlottesville.

    I had reference to challenges and the spirit of "volunteerism" to do the tough jobs (which does not necessarily apply to Charlottesville). For instance let us say the DC area had a need for top flight teachers and the salaries were not up to par. The motivator in that case would be to not place too much weight on money and go with the challenge and the opportunity to meet and overcome those challenges. Leadership also means a lot in those instances.

    Belle further stated……….."the local school systems aggressively court the top graduates from UVa’s Ed School, who are evaluating several factors…………"

    Many years ago, when in service, I was engaged in a project to determine "grades against results in application" , designed to determine what tier of grades did better in the field.

    The results indicated an average student who possessed qualities of drive and initiative performed better than the "A" student. A kind of theoretical versus the actual, if you will accept that. I can`t say exactly how scientific this project was but later in life I have noticed some similarities in certain situations.

    Not to make too great an argument in support of my point, and admittedly knowing very little about the cirriculum for a degree in education, I wonder in exacly what subjects should we look for excellence – the subject matter to be taught? The ability to "teach", i.e., the ability to pass on to the student what one knows (not an easy task)?the ability to lead -and I believe teacher leadership in our classrooms is of paramount importance. I happen to think good all around knowledge at the practical level is the hallmark of a good teacher and leader.

    So maybe you will, or not, agree that perhaps the hiring official should take a look at some other factors besides "high grades".

    Keep in mind Belle, and I think this is important, the people who are teaching the subject of "education" are the same people who got us where we are in education today – what does that tell you?

    I have had some outstanding employees and a marked characteristic was "they weren`t always looking for a raise" the job came first.

    Before folks jump all over me – sure salary is a factor but I prefer an applicant who wants the job and all that goes with it.

  11. Corneious writes: Keep in mind Belle, and I think this is important, the people who are teaching the subject of ‘education’ are the same people who got us where we are in education today – what does that tell you?

    What that tells me is that public education is underfunded; that professional appointments therein are staffed by underpaid, well-qualified people motivated more by a sense of community commitment than salary/prestige; and that you can’t grade the performance of an individual public educator or system by the test scores of their students — because, unlike private schools, they can’t refuse the most troubled, low-potential student or counter-act whatever negative influences intrude upon students in the vast majority of their lives lived outside the classroom.

  12. "More often than not, their knowledge is shaky even in the subjects they teach;"

    At the risk of angering even more people than Sympatico did, I’ll say he’s got a point here. In general, in my humble, the training that is provided in ed schools across the country is weak. Ed schools emphasize "methods" at the expense of the academic subject itself (say, math, or English). An ed major with a specialization in math is not the same thing as a math major–they are required to take fewer math classes, to progress further in the math curriculum, than a math major. The time that methods classes/ed school requirements takes up is time that comes out of studying their specialization.

    True, you can double major in an academic discipline and in education, but you don’t have to, and most don’t. The emphasis on methods is supposed to make them effective teachers, but I think that comes at the expense of making sure they know the subject thoroughly. And, I think a lot of what goes on it "methods" classes is hokum.

    "They work only 38-40 weeks per year and many of them really don’t work a full 40 hours/week, no matter how much moaning and groaning they do.

    Symp’s claim here, though, runs totally contrary to what I know of my teacher-friends’ lives–they easily work 40 hours/week, if not more. (Of course, I know English teachers, and the grading of papers might be the key factor there.)

    As far as paying teachers goes, I think it’s totally an inversion of our supposed American values that we tolerate the paying of shite wages to the people who do supposedly the most important work in the nation, i.e., educating the youth. Granted, many teachers don’t know their subject and do a poor job, but that’s no reason why the entire field should be underpaid.

  13. I hear a lot of this "spirit of volunteerism" argument–it usually means "we’re not going to pay you anything but if you’re a really good person you won’t care." Call me cynical.

    Why don’t CEOs have to show a spirit of volunteerism in taking their jobs? Senators? Presidents?

    This argument always seems to be made to justify undercompensating the jobs that are simultaneously most crucial and most grueling in our culture–teacher, social worker, etc. If we as a culture/society really appreciated the work done by these folks, we’d pay them better–that’s the yardstick by which appreciation is measured in this country. Hell, that’s why we’re told that so many corporations just HAD to offer that CEO-candidate x hundreds of thousands of dollars, because supposedly you can’t get quality people unless you pay for them. But strangely that argument does not apply when it comes to teachers–apparently you can get quality people by just advertising the noble and saintly nature of the work, and the good people will flock.

    I know I sound very money-oriented in this post, but I have known a lot of secondary/elem school teachers. That saint-crap wears out after 3 or 4 years. Then they either leave teaching for something that actually rewards them or they keep teaching but get worse and more bitter and disengaged.

  14. Well Bell and Cecil I guess all we must do is double the education budget and salaries and live happily ever after……. OK- but below the university level I was taught by by wonderful and dedicated teachers, none of whom I ever heard say one word about pay.

    BTW my post said nothing about whether I thought teachers were underpaid – it revolved around the points salaries should not be the best motivator to get good teachers and secondly that I felt the qualifications might be weighted incorrectly. My third point was a "blind leading the blind" comment.

    Lastly – Students have been graduating, over the years, with low levels of reading skills. I don`t think that statistic is linked to low teachers` pay nor is the fact diplomas are handed to failing students.

    In sum, although I mentioned salaries my arguments were pointed primarily at ways to improve the teacher pool but other posts have made salaries a pivotal point. Hmmmmmmm.

  15. Several thoughts from being educated in a Virginia public school (which was vastly underfunded) and having friends and relatives in the teaching business….

    1. Good teachers are always out there. Money helps a lot but frankly, parental involvement is important and the support of administration is much appreciated in some ways. The days of "Christie" and "Conrack" are probably gone. There are many teachers who go to underserved areas and teach in absymal conditions. I think it’s safe to say that Albemarle County does not fall into this category.

    2. Since I was in school, they have either been required or have had to take on more responsibility than before. Breakfast for kids, mainstreaming, testing, etc. eats up a lot of the budget. That said, I had some great teachers and some extraordinarily bad teachers. And you know what? Some of the best teachers I had were the ones with the worst reputation. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    3. If you want to feel sorry for anyone, feel sorry for the teacher aides. My cousin works in another county and makes less than $12,000. She has to prepare the plan for disabled students (although she is supposed to have a supervisor doing this). As it is in the real world, sometimes it’s the person who makes the least amount of money doing the most work. In addition, she gets to restrain violent students and have students who soil themselves sit in her office (which is a janitor’s closet).

    If Hutchison is so concerned about aides, perhaps there could be some fat in the administration? Which brings me to my other observation made when I was in high school….

    4. Perhaps it would be more useful to give $500 to each teacher/aide to spend without any conditions than it would be to have any more middle managers in the county school board administration.

    5. But to be fair, let’s point out that the schools in Virginia have a number of unfunded mandates (including "No Child Left Behind"). Recently the General Assembly made news by being one of the only Republican-controlled state governments to renounce "No Child Left Behind" rules and regs because of the money situation.

    6. Teachers do not set up the rules for closing school or the spring break periods. Many of these are probably consumer driven, i.e., "Let’s go to Disney World for Easter" kind of mentality. Going anywhere was not an option for me in high school or college. The people I worked with in the past thought nothing of yanking their kids out of school for a week long vacation to Disney World or other vacation spot. I couldn’t imagine my parents doing anything like that — going to school was my job and I had vacations in the summers.

    7. Most of the teachers I know work damn hard. My niece is in Charlotte and has to teach the Standards of Learning regulations in NC irregardless of whether her kids are brighter than normal (she teaches AP classes too). She spends many nights preparing to make her math class interesting. Ditto my best friend’s mother — she spent many hours preparing for classes, grading homework (math also) despite her school administration consistently giving her the worst kids in the school each year. (They felt she did a good job with them and so she kept on getting them year after year and was always exhausted.)

    8. The Post recently did an article about how schools are funded in Virginia. It’s a very interesting read….

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50937-2004Jan26.html

    I don’t have any immediate interest in this. I have no children. I just feel badly for kids these days because either everything is regimented to death (SOL, no bad thoughts, etc.) and there’s no room for experimentation by good and innovative teachers.

  16. If you are sure that teachers are too well paid, check out the pay scales of some local school districts. Let’s take Madison for example. If I remember correctly, the starting salary for someone with a Master’s degree was something like $28k or so a few years ago. The "automatic" raise you got after 1 year on the job? $50. Let’s do the math: 50/28000 = 0.17%! Wow, that’s a mighty generous automatic raise! You find with many districts in our area that you either start with a somewhat respectable salary and stay there for a decade, or you start low and get somewhat reasonable increases. Still, for your level of education and your *mandated* requirement to continue to stay current (which means you are mandated to pay tuition to attend college classes year after year), your salary lags behind your peers in other fields.

    Now let’s talk about respect. It is common wisdom (let’s assume that CVilleNewsers are representative of the population) that teachers suck. That’s what people believe. Teachers are dumb. That’s what our president says in his speeches. That’s what our politicians say — our schools are failing because our teachers are not up to the task of teaching our children. Saying that most teachers would not hack it in the real world is a bunch of crap — for every anecdote you can come up with about a teacher that is mediocre and is not up to the "real world", I can come up with an anecdote about a teacher that I can guarantee is smarter and more highly educated and more motivated than 99.9% of the people that work in the "real world". There is a continuum of teachers just like there is a continuum in every other job — some are good, some are bad. But claiming that all teachers aren’t capable of doing anything else is ridiculous.

    I’m not a teacher, contrary to what you may believe after reading this. However I have a lot of friends that are teachers, and I see the crap they have to put up with, the hard work they put in, and then I listen to your average moron come up with quotes like "teachers are too well paid" and "teachers… would not be able to hack it in the real world."

    If you don’t think paying teachers better isn’t going to attract or keep really talented people, look up how much teacher turnover there is in Madison County, Orange County, Greene County. Watch as their best teachers leave after gaining a few years of experience for better pay in places like Pennsylvania.

    Be glad that your salary isn’t a political issue.

  17. Thanks Waldo.

    Good post.

    Let’s take a quick look at those automatic raises…

    After 1 year : 0%

    After 2 years: 0%

    After 3 years: 3% !!

    After 4 years: 1% !!

    After 5 years: 1% !!

    After 5 years in CVille schools, you are making a whopping $2k more than 5 years earlier, a whole 6%. I’m outraged that these teachers are getting such lavish automatic raises. How dare they expect to keep up with inflation?

  18. You’re not too bright, are you? Maybe you’re one of these teachers we’re talking about. The pay scale schedule is automatic raises to compensate for seniority, but are independent from other raises, that are frequently offered. Last year, the teachers got over 3% in Albemarle county. That’s on top of their 1.1% to 3.5% *scheduled* seniority raise. So the average teacher got a 5% raise last year. This year, it would be the 6% to 9% *plus* the other average 3%, for a whopping possible 12% raise.

    People can follow the teacher pay scale for Albemarle county here.

    Now, for those of you who can do simple arithmetic, here’s a quick output from a spreadsheet:

    Albemarle 2003-04 Charlottesville 2003-04

    Salary Raise Real EQ Salary Raise Real EQ

    00 $32,200 n/a $40,250 $32,252 $40,315

    01 $32,600 1.2% $40,750 $32,252 0.0% $40,315

    02 $33,000 1.2% $41,250 $32,252 0.0% $40,315

    03 $33,400 1.2% $41,750 $33,401 3.4% $41,751

    04 $33,800 1.2% $42,250 $33,895 1.5% $42,369

    05 $34,200 1.2% $42,750 $34,397 1.5% $42,996

    06 $34,600 1.2% $43,250 $34,905 1.5% $43,631

    07 $35,000 1.1% $43,750 $35,423 1.5% $44,279

    08 $35,400 1.1% $44,250 $35,947 1.5% $44,934

    09 $35,800 1.1% $44,750 $36,479 1.5% $45,599

    10 $36,200 1.1% $45,250 $37,777 3.4% $47,221

    11 $36,600 1.1% $45,750 $38,337 1.5% $47,921

    12 $37,000 1.1% $46,250 $38,904 1.5% $48,630

    13 $37,400 1.1% $46,750 $39,479 1.5% $49,349

    14 $37,800 1.1% $47,250 $40,064 1.5% $50,080

    15 $38,200 1.0% $47,750 $40,657 1.5% $50,821

    16 $39,213 2.6% $49,016 $41,258 1.5% $51,573

    17 $40,616 3.5% $50,770 $41,869 1.5% $52,336

    18 $41,204 1.4% $51,505 $42,489 1.5% $53,111

    19 $41,792 1.4% $52,240 $43,117 1.5% $53,896

    20 $42,420 1.5% $53,025 $44,653 3.4% $55,816

    21 $42,967 1.3% $53,709 $45,314 1.5% $56,643

    22 $43,512 1.3% $54,390 $45,984 1.5% $57,480

    23 $44,088 1.3% $55,110 $46,664 1.5% $58,330

    24 $44,705 1.4% $55,881 $47,355 1.5% $59,194

    25 $45,278 1.3% $56,598 $48,056 1.5% $60,070

    26 $45,991 1.6% $57,489 $48,768 1.5% $60,960

    27 $46,705 1.5% $58,381 $49,489 1.5% $61,861

    28 $47,539 1.8% $59,424 $50,221 1.5% $62,776

    29 $48,328 1.6% $60,410 $52,020 3.5% $65,025

    30 $49,000 1.4% $61,250 $53,020 1.9% $66,275

    Notice the ‘Real EQ’ column. As teachers work at most 40 weeks per year, the minimum equivalent salary is indicated. So, a 1st year teacher of Kindergartners makes in fact an equivalent of at least $40K. Now that’s not bad for someone who’s essentially a glorified baby-sitter. The fact is, real-world benefits from such a leaisurely pace, with no weekends, many bureaucratic holidays, snow days, etc. would truly add another $5K per year.

  19. Notice how much more Charlottesville pays a super over other localities in Virginia! I guess, the board figures an extra $50K for the super will save on 9.44 x $16K for teacher assistants!

    Arsh Lochs!

  20. Aw shucks. You have a lot of friends that are teachers and you see the crap they have to put up with.

    Well I guess I must be wrong then. Bye bye now.

    Oh, and teachers should be glad their salary *is* a political issue. That way, they can get one even if they’re not qualified.

  21. Wow. What a well-reasoned, eloquent response to my post. I especially like the part where you rebutted the facts in my post.

    I will assume that you would happily allow us to know your salary, let the community vote on whether or not you deserve a raise and how much it should be? I’m sure the citizens of CVillenews think you are worth easily a 0.17% increase from year to year.

  22. Ok, here’s the Madison County salary scale (in .pdf form). Notice how those teachers have had their pay increased by $1000 after 10 years on the job. I can’t believe their audacity! I mean that’s a whopping 3% increase in pay after 10 years! Those other raises that you allude to (seniority, etc.) are adjustments designed to bump up the salaries of teachers who have been teaching for a decade and would otherwise have only seen their salary increase by 3% if they stuck to the pay scale that was in effect when they were hired. That is, those 1-3% raises are to make up for the fact that when they were hired the starting pay was $25k, not $31k. So in effect, the salary scale that you see is the salary scale that the teachers really do make. There are no phantom bonuses not on those lists.

    Now let’s address your “real world” equivalent. Yes, teachers get the summer off. Does this mean that they automatically get paid in the summer? No, they have to *work* in order to get paid extra during the summer. So if they work 40 weeks, they only make $31k or $32k. Of course, teachers can’t hack it in the real world, so no teacher ever has managed to actually *get* a summer job. Really. They just sit at home and eat bon bons, because they are too dumb to work anywhere besides a school.

    Can they work during the summer? Some yes, some no. Many have to *pay* to take courses to keep their certification. Many have other responsibilities (curriculum committees, for example) during the summer that prevent them from working a full time job during the summer. Also, teachers work longer into the summer and start earlier in the Fall than their students.

    Let’s also talk about how much teachers spend on their classrooms. I know a teacher who gets $75 for 9 months to spend on his classroom. That’s right — $75. That’s maybe $3 per student for the entire year that he can spend on his students. Almost every teacher spends hundreds of dollars of *their* money to supplement their classroom budget. Fortunately, they get such lavish salaries that they can afford to spend $500 of their salary on supplies for their students.

    I’m done with the flame war. Keep trolling, I’m sure you will hook someone else.

  23. Yeah, Symp, remember when you pulled the "poor me" stunt last year and gave us the impression that you were done with cvillenews.com? What happened? Actually, I am glad you are back, but more full of shite as ever!

  24. other raises that you allude to (seniority, etc.) are adjustments designed to bump up

    I may be a half jerk sometimes, but you, you’re crispified in the brain. Yeah, you’re right: everything about K-12 teachers is designed to “bump up” the lifestyle.

    K-12 teachers are the ultimate bureaucrats. They always seem to complain about working and are always asking for ‘recognition of their efforts’. They want ‘competitive’ incomes, but they compete with no one but themselves. Do YOU know of any other industry that gives 3 months vacations a year? Well, maybe rock stars do, but then many K-12 teachers THINK they’re stars.

    Let’s also talk about how much teachers spend on their classrooms. I know a teacher who gets $75 for 9 months to spend on his classroom. That’s right — $75

    I know teachers that have the nerve to send back requests to the parents to donate coffee, muffins and other goodies to the teachers’ rec room, to “show their appreciation”. Yeah, I’m sure the workers in the local supermarkets would love folks to show their appreciation that way too.

    Look, you obviously have no clue what real work means: work that is year ’round, year after year after year after year after year after year, with little vacation, intense deadlines, no coffee breaks every 90 minutes and so on.

    The point being very simple, even for you to understand: most teachers choose that profession for the following reasons:

    1. Loads of time off, in summer, at Christmas, Spring Break, all the Presidents Days and the gazillions of other holidays;

    2. Authority. K-12 teachers are there because they can boss kids around, but are piss-ants in the real world;

    3. A non-challenging job that rehashes the same old crap year after year. In fact, some teachers use the same cheat sheets and tests they ‘created’ a decade ago.

    Are there any good K-12 teachers? Yeah, just like there are few well educated taxi drivers in LA.

    Bye now, troll.

  25. Belle, have you ever been President of the United States?

    Assuming you haven’t, does that mean you (and the rest of us who haven’t) are unqualified to talk about how well he’s performing his job?

  26. Senators and Presidents do – those jobs don’t pay nearly as well as their private-sector equivalents. John Snow’s pay was cut by about 98% when he went from CEo of CSX to Sec. of Treasury.

    CEOs don’t show a spirit of volunteerism because that’s not the sort of job that has non-material rewards. You need to pay people to work for corporations because they’re lousy soul-sucking workplaces that no one in their right mind would get involved with for fun or spiritual, emotional, or social enrichment.

    If we need to pay more money to attract teachers, why is there always a glut on the market?

    And yes, teachers burn out fast, but it’s not because of low pay, it’s because of lack of support from parents and administrators. I have had many close relatives and friends in the profession and have seen this over and over. They become disillusioned because the students don’t give a crap and just want to punch their tickets to graduate and/or go to college, the parents just want the teachers to do nothing to give their little preciousses any black marks (like disciplining them for cheating, smoking crack in class,or assaulting their teachers), and the administrators are so terrified of lawsuits they’ll let the students literally get away with murder before backing the teachers on anything.

  27. Cut the superintindent’s salary in half, for starters, and then it would only be a $1.70M shortfall.

    I’d bet they could save a good bit of that money in administrative costs and no student would ever know the difference – but you’ll never see that happen, because it would mean axing the sinecure jobs of the people with the real clout in the system, those who made it to the top of the heap and secured the dream of every burnt out, bitter veteran teacher, a cushy job pushing papers away from the classroom and the nightmarish complications of students and parents and actually having to teach. It’s a dirty little secret that much of the public school system’s and the education establishment’s function is to provide an easy living for these parasites at the expense of the taxpayers.

  28. Bye now, troll.

    Pot.Kettle.Black.

    It’s wonderful how you have decided without knowing anything about me that I have no clue what real work means. But that’s the MO of a troll — just take every discussion and turn it into name calling.

    You are certainly entitled to your misguided opinion and none of us are ever going to change your bizarre worldview. Enjoy yourself!

  29. What would Thomas Jefferson do?

    I’m confident he would say that public discourse is messy and individuals are born smart enough to distinguish a personal attack from an argument. I’m also sure he’s rolling over in his grave to think that people trust the government to educate their children.

    "Education ought not be through coercion" in Daily Progress Jan 14, 2002

    http://www.geocities.com/healingcharlottesville/discuss/9.html

  30. But that’s the MO of a troll — just take every discussion and turn it into name calling.

    You’ve GOT to be a teacher or something in that vein. If you’re not, you need to change profession. A teachers MO:

    · ‘Convenience’ memory. You first called me a troll, then subsequently, I purposefully used the exact same disparaging qualifier in return, and you blame me for turning a discussion into “into name calling”.

    none of us are ever going to change your bizarre worldview

    · Sheepish. I didn’t take a vote count. Did you? Why are you calling upon others to support your argument with me? Teachers regularly support their self-serving views witrh platitudes and self-congratulationary jargon.

    Lastly, another prevalent MO:

    It’s wonderful how you have decided without knowing anything about me

    · Forked tongue

  31. For once, we agree. Although I have a beef with K-12 teachers, particularly the small grade ones, I am convinced a larger issue is definitely the admins whose monopoly generates invariably wasteful and damaging processes.

    On an even more enlarged view: I am one to often argue we need taxes and more taxes to provide a good social cushion for the people of our once great country, but over time, I am also inclined to understand why so many Americans want as little government as possible: the taxes we do pay engender these types of degenerate public organizations. It’s like feeding a monster that will devour us when it’s full grown.

  32. I’d love to not trust the government to educate my children. But I don’t have much of a reasonably better alternative either.

    In regard to not being coerced into education, one of the other big issues, not contemporary to TJ and who I respect very much, is that Americans almost universally feel everyone is entitled and worthy of higher education. This is simply not realistic. I’d like to see a return of "Trade Schools" in a big way. Unfortunately, these have faded into infomercial gimmickry a this time.

  33. Bruce, I’ll direct your attention to what Sympy wrote was the basis for his impressions: ‘In my experience […]’.

    Thus when s/he suggested that ‘many’ teachers didn’t work a 40-hour week, that they enjoyed liberal ‘breaks’ for coffee and what not, that teaching assistants were better educators than legally qualified teachers . . . and more — I doubted that he had ever worked in our local schools. Sympy can have an opinion, and a politically valid one that comes with paying taxes, but that doesn’t mean that her/his descriptions of teacher qualifications, local standards, and labor conditions are informed by anything substantative.

  34. You are correct on this point: Having an opinion without any exposure is often a conflicting issue.

    But I *do* have a lot of exposure from several angles. In fact, it is exposure that goes well beyond just being a parent and having to put up with bad teachers, like most.

  35. Corneious writes: Keep in mind Belle, and I think this is important, the people who are teaching the subject of ‘education’ are the same people who got us where we are in education today – what does that tell you?

    >>>>What that tells me is that public education is underfunded; that professional appointments therein are staffed by underpaid, well-qualified people motivated more by a sense of community commitment than salary/prestige; and that you can’t grade the performance of an individual public educator or system by the test scores of their students — because, unlike private schools, they can’t refuse the most troubled, low-potential student or counter-act whatever negative influences intrude upon students in the vast majority of their lives lived outside the classroom<<<<

    Wow, Belle, You got all that from it??

  36. I predict Irving Jones will be a candidate.

    He never made it to the list of finalists the last time around, to the dismay of some of in the City. Since then, he’s decamped to Richmond to gain the sort of central office experience that some said was the principal shortcoming of his last application. But he never sold his house here [just check Albemarle County’s website].

  37. Last I heard, Albemarle county had a massive surplus. I also heard something about revenue sharing between the two. Does this not cover schools?

  38. WALDO says (I assume these are his words) "Ron Hutchinson, superintendent of Charlottesville schools, has made his budget recommendation to the school board, and it’s ugly. There’s a $1.76M shortfall, or 3% of the budget"

    What`s ugly about it? In times of reduced revenue cuts are to be expected.

    Shortfall? Shortfalls are caused by not reducing expenses to counteract reductions in revenue. One can have a 50 million dollar shortfall if one sticks enough stuff in the budget. It`s easy to generate a shortfall.

    Good and responsible budgeting is, in part, based upon reduction in outlays when revenue is not there.

    It is not ugly to cut back, it is responsible,warranted, and commendable.

    Tough times require coping not crying.

  39. Tough times require coping not crying.



    I just wish the top dogs would feel the same way, that is, willing to hold back on personal recompenses. Instead, we’ve seen from most of the ruling class, a complete disconnect as to fair participation in coping times.

  40. Good info. I’m not surprised to see people in management making more money than the teachers, however if the superintendent’s pay was cut in half and it was distributed to teachers it wouldn’t even make a dent. I’m shocked to see how little they pay for someone with a PHd.

  41. A doctorate is in itself not worthy of high compensation. If that were so, Bill Gates should be a schlepper and I should be filthy rich.

  42. True enough, but I would tend to expect those added years of hard work and time spent outside of the workforce to pay back more. Like many things in life, I suppose a person needs more reasons than money to pursue it.

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