18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 11, 2009 11:21 AM by sdixon

    Economic Crisis

    lsrdhunter@msn.com

      How has the current economic crisis impacted your school or district?

        • Re: Economic Crisis
          julesfischy

          Linda- some schools in AZ started back to school this week.  As a result our newspaper has been running back to school saving tips – to try to help everyone get prepared and save some money. They even highlighted a few teachers who shared what they spend to get their room ready- and this many of them spent personal money to get the basics like paper and pencils. 

          I do know that the k-8 district where my daughter goes will not allow or approve any out of state field trips. Some of the PTOs have decided to forgo the traditional fundraisers and promoting “stayraisers” families stay at home and donate the money to the school that they shave by not going out – one schools goal is 10,000. They have roughly 500 elementary students at their school and they are hoping that each child will be able to bring in at least $20 – which will allow them to reach their goal. I can’t wait to see how those schools to- personally I would love to just write a check and not have to deal with helping my child sell gift wrap or cookie dough.  It will be in interesting to see how those schools do.

          I too am interested in the impacts that others are seeing at their schools.

          • Re: Economic Crisis
            MrsSmoke

            Here in Kansas, many teachers (esp non-tenured teachers) have lost their positions.  One district had to cut so much that they dropped every teacher in a lottery to determine who would get to stay in the district this coming year.

             

            Our district has cut all field trips, increased health insurance, added a fee for students under 2.5 miles from school to pay to ride the bus, and cut our YMCA benefit. I feel lucky, though, even with these cuts as I know others have it much worse.

            • Re: Economic Crisis
              lsrdhunter@msn.com

              Living in Florida, I consider myself fortunate.  My own school district, the eighth largest district in the nation, has been cutting costs for more than two years – well before the budget crisis. Major cost-cutting initiatives include:

              • The reorganization of transportation. (Estimated savings of $9-million).
              • Having high school teachers teach six periods per day, up from five periods per day. (Estimated savings of $38-million.)
              • Eliminated district level positions. (Estimated savings of $5.3-million.)
              • Division budgets reduced by 20 percent. (Estimated savings of $3-million.)
              • Lapse – vacant positions are held for 90 days or longer. (Estimated savings of $5-million.)
              • Reorganized district administrative positions.  (Estimated savings of $870,454.)
              • 12 month district employees work a four-day, 10-hour work week during the summer months (Estimated savings of $1.8-million.)

               

               

              • Re: Economic Crisis

                Linda,

                 

                Across the state of Louisiana we have seen a couple of districts go to four-day work weeks, a few have had to close schools, and some have had to even cut positions. However, we have been somewhat fortunate in that we have not felt the impact of this crisis as heavily as other areas have. Edweek.org has been covering this topic and has a line up of articles that provide insight of what's happening around the nation with education cuts.

                  • Re: Economic Crisis
                    lsrdhunter@msn.com

                    Stephanie,

                         I just went to Edweek.org and did a search on "Budget Cuts".  Lots of articles surfaced.  Just as you said, there was information from around the country.  That was a great suggestion.

                         I hope members of the Teachers Engage Community will continue to share the things that their schools/districts are doing in our discussion.  I would also like to hear from our international educators.  

                  • Re: Economic Crisis
                    Bowerman@cox.net

                    Our legislature here in Arizona is meeting right now to force a budget that includes significant cuts to education. In my district we eliminated kindergarten assistants, did not renew contracts for part-time teachers who taught for less than three years, and did not rehire teachers who are retired but working for the district (we did keep all administrators, including those retired who are collecting both their pension and a paycheck). We also placed 68 first year teachers on a RIF (reduction in force) list and have not called back 28 of them.

                     

                    Our classrooms will have more students and fewer supplies. We have been told that since we have a great deal of access to technology we shouldn't need as much paper. It's pretty difficult to teach first graders to write without paper. Overall, it's a sad start to the new school year.

                      • Re: Economic Crisis
                        lsrdhunter@msn.com

                        Margaret,

                             You wrote about teachers/administrators who retired and were rehired.  We also have the same practice here in Florida but this year will be different, if our the current proposed agreement is signed.  All retirees from any educational entity who are employed by my district shall be placed on Level 1 (beginning teacher's salary) of the negotiated teacher salary schedule.  On July 1, 2012, said employees whall be placed on Level 5 of the negotiated teacher salary schedule.

                             I wonder, if this will keep some people from returning to work.

                      • Re: Economic Crisis

                        It's heartbreaking to hear your stories of economic impact from the downturn and state budget crisis.  Our schools in Oregon are impacted too, our District let innovative and enthusiastic young teachers go, literacy coaches in elementary schools, and more.  Class size is going up.  There are bright spots - federal recovery and reinvestment dollars are helping, and the budget forcast isn't as bad as initially predicted.  Hang in there!

                          • Re: Economic Crisis

                            Hi Steve, I'm interested in what present class sizes are and what the proposed increase will be.

                              • Re: Economic Crisis
                                glen_w

                                Cuts have been fairly deep here in Utah as well. My school got of easier than some ... we only lost 10% of our teachers. District support staff was cut by about 60%. The people who have been cut were coaches who helped elementary Math and Language Arts teachers in the district. I also learned that all school "mentor" funding was cut. School mentors taught full class schedules, but met with new teachers after hours to answer questions, provide encouragement, and explain policies "like how to deal with finances." We were told when we left school that the supply budget for next year will be very small. I'm not sure what "small" means right now. I'm thrilled to still have a job and enjoy doing what I like so much.

                                 

                                Our district has hired some new teachers. I'm aware because in 10 days, I will train our new science teachers. I'm hoping to encourage their joining a PLN and considering projects with their students. I think I will probably be the main "mentor" for these science folks. I'm glad to do it because I know I can thereby influence students in their classes.

                                 

                                I was told at the end of last year that my class sizes will probably not go up. I'm glad to hear that because the counselors currently block registrations for my classes at 40. (That means the computer can't schedule me for 41 students - often the numbers are below 40 ... but I had two periods of 39 students last year.) I have kind of a weird philosophy on this ... I'd rather have them in my room because of my teaching style. I believe I can reach each student and work hard to accomplish that goal.

                            • Re: Economic Crisis

                              Hi everyone

                               

                              Believe me these crisis are nothing to what we have faced in Pakistan.

                               

                              To be very honest, you people are facing the economic crisis in 2009 but we in Pakistan are facing these crisis for the last few years. Moreover the electricity shortage has really crippled us. We are facing a lot of problems in implementation in schools where there are centralised computer labs. After every hour there is a load shedding. The govt. has promised to resolve this issue by end Dec. 2009 and we are waiting. The govt. is so involved in resolving terrorism issues that education is the last (My feeling) on their agenda. Though some NGOS are really very active and trying to direct govt. attention towards quality education especially in Madrassas (Religious institution). They want that the madrassas curriculum should be shared and alligned on govt. standards to avoid any future terrorism. They blame Madrassas to be the root in generating terrorist in our society.

                               

                              But the good thing is that we are having our Govt. Focal Person meet next week on 5th August 2009. I will also be attending the meet as I am invited by my education manager Sharleen Ghauri. I am very hopeful that after the meet things will turn in our direction and we will succeed in getting the new govt. attention that Intel Education is partners with govt. in providing the latest 21st century based teaching and learning that will help our students succeed in the new global economy.

                               

                              Regards

                              Bushra

                                • Re: Economic Crisis
                                  lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                  Bushra,

                                       Thank you for adding the Pakistani perspective to this discussion.  Working with electricity shorages and terrorism must be highly stressful for both teachers and students.  I will be thinking of you on August 5th as you meet with the Govt. Focal Person.  Please keep us posted on your situation.

                                    • Re: Economic Crisis

                                      Dear Linda

                                      Thanks for the response and concern. Yes the teachers and especially the students were in great stressw the past year due to explosions here and there. BUT the situation is improving and we are quite hopefull that it will continue that way.

                                       

                                      We had a great focal person meet in Karachi, Pakistan. Where all 4 provinces govt. focal persons and Federal Additional Secretary Education participated. As for my region Punjab which is one of the largest province with 35 districts, the focal person shared that our chief Minister Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif is setting up labs with 20 computers and internet facility in all Higher Secondary schools. Some 4500 labs will be set by end Dec 2009 and his project is called Mega IT project. The focal person shared that they want Intel to take charge of teachers training in all the 4500 school and help govt bring quality in education. This means that by Dec 2009 we are going to be very busy in Punjab. I am very excited about this Mega IT project and training.

                                       

                                      Best Regards

                                        • Re: Economic Crisis

                                          Bushra,

                                          Keep us posted this is truly awesome. How wonderful is it that you have the Intel resources and programs to help shape this huge project.

                                          • Re: Economic Crisis
                                            lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                            Bushra,

                                                  I am very happy to hear you made progress with your meeting this week.  December 09 will be here in the blink of an eye.  4500 schools participating in the Mega IT project will make a hugh positive impact with your students.  I hope you will have time to post a follow up once your program is up and running.

                                            How many students do you serve in Punjab?

                                             

                                            • Re: Economic Crisis
                                              blancaedu

                                              Dear Bushra,

                                              These are exciting times indeed for your country and I wish continued movement towards democracy and quality education. I just googled information about Pakistan and it looks like there are major infusions of cash in infrastructure and utilities. Keep us posted as global changes affect us all. There is much we can learn too, from sharing and studying with each other. Best of luck to you!

                                        • Re: Economic Crisis
                                          blancaedu

                                          Dear Linda,

                                           

                                          Thank for for starting this important thread! In my school for children with special needs, we have cut down on consultants who previously evaluated students and instead have relied more on our current staff. Because our small school also provides therapies, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists are not hired on a per diem basis as the costs are more expensive. We have started using full time members who already work for the school to work with children.

                                           

                                          Another way the school has cut costs has been by looking at everything from the cost of toilet paper to napkins and food (yes, even toilet paper!) to make sure that inventory is purchased in bulk at the least possible price. This coupled with aggresive fundraising has helped the bottom line. It isn't easy to have to justify every expense but it is something that needs to be done. Small cuts in expenses can lead to large annual savings. I feel for the teachers in who are going to be subject to starting salaries. Whatever it takes to get us through I suppose, is what needs to be done...Thanks for sharing...

                                            • Re: Economic Crisis

                                              Blanca,

                                               

                                              Tough times! It seems that some positions will be spread very thin. It will be important for us to utilize our expertise on the many free online teaching tools available to assist teachers with providing high quality instruction despite having limited resources. I