Saturday, August 4, 2007

It's for the Kids...Remember That!

Red Oak ISD brought the headsman's axe to a personnel party on August 3, 2007. 41 "non-contract personnel" were told to pack their stuff, get their resumes ready and hit the trail. The timing was pretty interesting since most districts do their hiring in the Spring for teachers, aides and support personnel. Administrative support personnel have it a little easier; but the Texas Legislature really didn't fix school funding, so jobs may be a little harder for them to find as well.

Letting people go anytime is tough for all concerned but VERY tough in a town where the school district is the largest employer. August 3, also conincides with the beginning of the final budget process in the school business. If the district was this fat in the personnel area, what other cuts could be made in highly paid administrative areas to help reduce costs. I don't think I'd venture a guess on how many high-five and six-figure administrators even worried about their jobs. Absolutely NONE.

It's a hellava time to do this to people Lucille...this reduction in force should have been done in May or June giving these employees the same amount of time to find school jobs as teachers that are not renewed by the district. Oh well, whomever said life was actually fair right? It's for the kids if I recall clearly? It saves about 1Million per year! I wonder if this savings will be put on debt service on the outrageous 95 Million dollar bond? That would be a major bee-atch if this was actually so but I am reaching to Pluto on this point. How can kids be served if aides are taken out of the classroom. It is a major disconnect. I'd like to see some of the administrators teach classes in this case to reduce pressure on overloaded teachers. Like that will EVER happen...BS

Classes in Red Oak ISD are packed, just ask the Superintendent or someone on the Bond Oversight Committee if you can find out who the heck they actually are. That list is unavailable. I've asked the Superintendent and Vice President of the School board electronically but they've declined to respond to date. I'm assuming it's the same cast of characters that were hyping the bond. That's how things are done right? That's why we "needed this bond-for the kids" right?

Uh-huh, sure. Now, the very personnel that allow teachers to give more time for individualized instruction are axed from the schools. If you've not been in the school business or are a anti-public education wacko, you'll snicker at that statement. If you're a bean-counter, you'll smile that only 41 persons were axed and not more to achieve better balance and less dependence upon existing fund balances. If you're a parent, you might start scratching your head and ask the question if reduction in force actually equals reduction in services to your kids? All this and the district is asking for a tax increase through the 95 Million dollar bond? Yes sir, this is school business at its best. Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt!

The press release cites the quick response of the Texas Workforce Commission. Yepper...I bet they find a whole lot of hamburger flippin' jobs for these ex-employees and yeah, the district is still 2% above the average in the numbers of auxiliary personnel. We're supposed to think that is a GOOD thing? Just ask the OTHER 2% if they see the writing on the wall. Those jobs will be lost to attrition (folks quitting before they're not renewed) so the District won't look so badly in the public eye.

I'd be way more impressed if I saw a reduction in high salaried administrators, reduction in frivolous spending on extra-curricular activities, getting the Technology Department under fiscal control and putting off bonded expansion plans until the budget is relatively stable.

These are just symptoms of a problem that was here for years and not handled by ANY Superintendent or School Board member until John Hawkins came on board. Kudos to John...he knows exactly of what I write. That problem has since retired but the present administration is scrambling to get the balance sheet to zero.

Good luck to the first 41 ex-employees. Just remember as you try to find a new position that all this was "for the kids". What a crock!

Here's the link to the official release, read it and make your own judgements:

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