The impact of the property tax debacle is drifting to ever more local levels. The history is long and cumbersome, and I’ve documented no small part of it here. But, now it’s starting to look like it’s going to mess with my kid’s education, so I’m starting to take it a little personally. Today, as reported by Meranda Watling in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, our school corporation announced a reduction in force of about 20%.
Several of those teachers — the youngest and the ones in specialty areas, including elementary art, music and physical education — will soon receive “reduction in force” letters stating that their jobs may no longer exist in TSC this fall. Those 150 teachers represent 20.5 percent of all TSC teaching staff.
That was the unanimous decision of the TSC school board. The vote came after the board tabled the decision earlier this month and then listened Monday to more than 90 minutes of discussion and questions, both from the audience and from board members.
The reduction is expected to help TSC close a $7.8 million budget gap in its general fund this year.
. . .
Heather Brooks, co-president of the teachers union, said after the meeting that she continues to be disappointed by the lack of openness on the part of TSC’s administration. It wasn’t until last week, she said, that TSC administrators formally asked for negotiations with the teachers. And it wasn’t until the board meeting Monday that she heard any dollar figures put to the teachers union’s alternative budget cut proposals.
I suspect we can look for the usual suspects to deflect criticism about school programs crumbling in the wake of questionable tax policy decisions with some version of “teacher’s unions are to blame.” It’s an evergreen, all purpose, floor wax/dessert topping issue.
For my kids, it means bigger class sizes, less preparation time for the teachers with the bigger classes, and less instruction in “non-core” subjects like art and music (but what role have art & music played in human civilization, really?) Which is too bad, because Cole has really been showing an aptitude for such things.
Update Specifics having to do with the proposed cuts are here (pdf).