Well, the lousy economy has hit the school district. We found out today in a faculty meeting that 2 of our primary grade positions are being "excessed" (cut due to declining funding, meaning much larger classes next year) and that at least 2 other staff members are being RIF'd (Reduction in Force, which is essentially a pink slip). Our school is not taking anywhere near the hit that others are - there are some schools losing up to 20 teachers. That would be almost our entire faculty! The "excessed" teachers will be placed in other spots, but at other grade levels and most likely other schools. RIF'd teachers have to wait to see what positions end up being left open once other shuffles take place; it's based on last-hired, first-fired. In the past, all the RIF'd teachers have been offered positions before the next school year, but many left to take a secured job in other districts. There haven't needed to be RIFs for several years in my district, or in any others around here that I am aware of. The amazing growth of Maricopa County kept schools booming and teaching jobs were plentiful, until the housing market tanked. Now we have too many houses and too many teachers.
I'm thankful to have my position secured after 5 years at my school. However, I am very sad that one of my compatriots will be moving to an intermediate grade and that my lovely little group of 22 second graders will be an oversized class of 30 or more next year. Despite "research" to the contrary, size DOES matter when it comes to teacher/student ratio.
Arizona is the home of the nation's highest kidnapping rate and the nation's 48th-lowest per-pupil funding rate. A correlation between violent crimes and poor education? Fairly well documented. Why can't the "powers that be" see that an investment in kids NOW will pay immeasureable dividends LATER? I'm not saying, "Pay me more money." I'm saying, "Keep teachers in the classrooms so that we have the ability to make a difference!"
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