New school funding imperiled

The Arrogance of  some  school superintendents

A New York Times article August 18, 2010 makes the incendiary assertion that some  schools districts may not spend the just passed $10 Billion dollars on hiring teachers and preventing teacher layoffs.

Under a law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in August, the “Keep Our Educators Working Act,”  schools will receive $ 10 billion in federal funding for education to help put teachers and teaching assistants back in classrooms.

Let us be clear.  This is a budget emergency in many states.  That money was passed by the Congress  to hire teachers and other staff, not for superintendents to play with, to hide, or to use for their other plans.

Districts should hire the teachers now. The money is on the way.  Yes, that leaves a budget problem for next year. But, the kids need a quality school system this year. And, the economy needs these teachers back to work.

It was teacher voices and teacher mobilization that passed the bill.  Both major teachers unions, the NEA and the AFT mobilized to encourage passage of the bill.  Senators received over 20,000 e mails, phone calls, and letters. As reported in prior posts here,   it took 4 votes to pass the bill over the Senator filibuster.

The Times article particularly cites Houston’s Superintendent Terry B. Grier with planning to use the funds for other uses.  Grier has a  history  in other districts of budget manipulation to promote his own self interest going back to the time when he was superintendent in Sacramento, California.

If you are in the middle of a flood, or a fire, you don’t say, well lets not fight this because we might need the funds next year.  We need to respond to the crisis by hiring teachers now – and then working on next year’s crisis.

Should administrators ignore the clear legislative intent to provide teacher jobs and use this money for other needs, it will be very difficult in the future to convince the Congress in the future of the need to fund teachers and schools.

Any superintendent who uses this money for other purposes should be fired.  Labor unions and Central Labor Councils should insist that candidates seeking their endorsements commit to using the money for the intended purposes of hiring back laid off teachers.  We can’t allow school districts to act like AIG, or Bank of America with public money.

In the New York Times the article is titled, “Given Money for Rehiring, Schools Wait and See.”

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One Response

  1. Heavens never. Superintendents fired? What in the world would we do without them?

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