Just like the discussions the District had with the community regarding the closure of Woodway and Evergreen, the "Reduced Educational Plan" seems to be following the same path. The District decides what positions and programs will be cut and then coordinates meetings to come up with ways to make cuts. The decision was already made. It would be nice if the illusion of community concern was at least sophisticated enough to happen before the cuts are announced.
If you haven't seen the 2009-2010 Reduced Educational Plan, you can see it by clicking here.
While I still find it troubling that the District is cutting staff and programs while giving another round of raises to administrators, that issue will be discussed in the coming days. For now, there are a number of items from the Reduced Educational Plan that give cause for concern.
1. The value of reducing or reorganizing district administration appears to be of a similar value to the entire fifth grade music program. Perhaps if district administration wasn't so bloated to begin with, it wouldn't be so costly to reorganize them. Perhaps if they double their efforts to reduce and reorganize they might save music.
2. It would appear that the guy the District hired to just sit at home waiting for the pager to go off is being eliminated. The position should have never happened in the first place and if greater minds had effectively pondered the issue years ago, they would have realized how insensitive it is to have people sitting idle, earning salary and benefits while paraeducators lose their jobs. Shame on the District for wasting this money in the first place. Congratulations on getting back to zero.
3. I misspoke in an earlier entry. While Custodial Services is taking a cut of 6.5 FTE, those positions were intentionally left vacant so the District wouldn't have to actually cut people. Unfortunately, these positions were probably very necessary to keep our schools clean, safe and free from the heightened possibility of disease transmission. There may have been a cut of zero people, but since these positions will now go unfilled, the costs will be borne by the schools and the other custodians that will have to pick up the slack.
4. The Planning and Property Management Specialist, which was already downgraded from a professional position when Marla hired her friend, affectionately called Twinkle Toes, has been scaled back to Office Personnel. Clearly, after two years of woefully inadequate service, it is more than apparent that the position no longer needs to exist. Of course, in cases like these, the District would invite the current occupant of the position to be involved in the reclassification process and stay on to serve in this newly defined capacity. The only time that doesn't happen is when the person is so unqualified their days become numbered. Perhaps my use of the term "clericalist" was just far too generous.
5. The cuts to Grounds seem a little brutal. These employees serve a far greater function than district management understands. I fault George Marschall and Brian Harding for failing to understand the role these employees perform and failing to effectively advocate for this portion of the work under Facilities Operations. There were other reductions that could have been made first, but of course, these relatively simple minds must believe that back-filling grounds positions would be a simple matter. After all, they just mow lawns, right?
6. The District is actually creating a job in facilities management and funding it with the revenue derived from renting out schools. While this move will take some pressure off of office staff - staff that was just reduced through budget cuts - why centralize facility use under these conditions? If schools were responsible for renting out their own space and told that their salaries depend upon the revenue generated, wouldn't it stand to reason that increased earnings could be realized? Will the new employee be provided with the same incentive? If you are funding the position from rental revenues, would you cut the position if they are unable to generate revenue? Will the rentals of athletic facilities move to this same position? You might just need more than one person.
7. Community Relations is taking a cut of $20,000 in their newsletter costs and $25,000 in reception support. While I could see an argument for doing away with the newsletter entirely, since I have never met anyone that ever read one, I fail to see how the reception desk can be unstaffed. Wouldn't this just be a cost shifting effort? Someone will have to cover the front desk. It looks as though the District will be drawing upon all of the free time that some of their other employees have. Will receptionists or secretaries in other departments be expected to sacrifice their staff and departmental productivity by having them cover longer periods of time? Is this fair to staff? Is it accurate to call this a reduction?
8. Under Human Resources there is a peculiar topic; "Seek collective bargaining changes". This is essentially a description of the District's interest in renegotiating labor agreements with staff. What upsets me is the blatant lack of equity. While the District pins their financial hopes on labor's willingness to reverse an agreement signed last August, they make no real effort to reciprocate in management. The union has even gone as far as to encourage their members to accept such a proposal because it will save jobs. What happened to management? Why are they not taking the same cut? Why are they not in jeopardy of losing their jobs? Why aren't cuts being made across the board?
It has been said many times before but why wouldn't the District institute furlough days to save money? There are already plenty of "in service" days where teachers come to work and students get a day off. Why not identify a number of set days in the coming year that will have the rest of district staff stay away? If there is a concern about having too many people gone at the same time, why not give different labor groups different floating furlough days, including management? Imagine the savings that can be realized if the District's herd of superintendents were required to take one unpaid day off each month.
Of course, the elimination of librarians is back on the table. It is terribly tragic when an organization that serves no other function than education feels it is acceptable to get rid of librarians. For the price of a single assistant superintendent you could save most of them, and it would have to be more than just moving Sue Venable to Teaching and Learning, unless she intends to become a volunteer. Clearly, the District intends to use the loss of librarians as a motivating force for those among us that believe that reading is fundamental. Instill a love for reading in a child and they will be richly rewarded with all that literature has to offer. Such children would also be far more likely to care about education and far less likely to allow poor district management to destroy our community from the inside out.
To the District's lawyers: I have been given the day off for all of the heavy hours I have been working because of H1N1.
Friday, May 08, 2009
"Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny."
Posted by ESD15.org at 1:36 PM
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They could shut down for the month of July and have the savings to the District deducted from payroll through the year.
but then, maybe that is too much math for Laura Barney.
20 years ago the Edmonds School District had more schools and a higher enrollment than today.
20 years ago the Edmonds School District had ONE Assistant Superintendent.
Do the math. Exit P12 and up. And get rid of SEIU 925!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had a little bird sing a song for me, one sunny after noon.
The Bird told me that mangers, department heads and school administration all got 6 % to 7 % for the last 5 years. Thats where all the money is. Ok, if your slow or something I'll help you with is Marla math problem. 5 years x 6% = a 35% raise for some of these slow movers. Have you ever got a 35% raise before? I think not.
To the leaders of this school disrtict its time for some pay cuts. NOW!
So, if you have to vote for a pay cut, just look up to your BOSS, and ask if he or she is taking a pay cut or taking days off without pay. I bet they say something like " I have, I wish and extra stress ".
Just remember, we don't get raises like they do.
Please stand tall.
Raises of 6% to 7% for all upper management. Lets talk about those numbers
Didn't Laura Barney hire her sister in the HR Dept?
So evidently, the public budget meetings being held this month are only for "questions". Not statements from the public. As a matter of fact, Nick and Marla told one man who wanted to talk about saving music, to basically "sit down" because this forum was not for speeches. When IS the forum when comments are allowed? I'm guessing there isn't one. So everybody come prepared to ask one question, "Teachers aren't getting a COLA is management in the Edmonds School District? and what was the percentage?" Be prepared to fill in the last figure for them because they won't have that data available I'm sure"
Another inequity is the libraries at ONLY 4 SCHOOLS! in the district are having their librarians cut to half time. That means that only 4 librarians will be servicing 800 students! What does that look like? Mountlake Terrace Students will have a librarian there full time that will teach somewhere around 19-20 "sections" or classes per week and service one collection of books and some 420 students while the librarians at the "CHOSEN 4 SCHOOLS" will manage two book collections, 800 plus students, double the staff, and run between two schools providing 30 plus sections!!!! Where's the union on this one????? Where's the equity in education in this one???? So my kid get's less the support from library than a kid at another school because that other school has 10 more students???? COME ON PEOPLE!!!
What about the supt. taking his raise then having his salary frozen for 1 year? First the raise of course. Boy is he doing his part! You gotta be kidding me. If this is not true be tell us so.
A tactic we once used to support our fellow union members was to picket the ESC. We got A LOT of attention, from parents, community, media, etc. Why not have staff and the parents of the children affected by these cuts make signs and march up and down the sidewalk of ESC until someone does something?!
Read page A14 of the Seattle Times on Sunday. Lake Washington School district is trying to cut their 7.7 million dollar gap by eliminating 10 administrative positions, cutting the central-office operating budgets, and increasing the fees for all-day kindergarten and sports participation, among other steps. Where are the cuts at the ESC? A cut in pay at the ESC could eliminate some of the proposed cuts being made, district wide. If other districts are valuing the teachers and students education, ours should also. Does our district actually need that many administators?
Snohomish county gvt. is having employees take days off. I agree with another poster about having admin. takes days off w/o pay. Why are they so much more special than the rest of the real world?
Times are tough and we all hear contact our representatives, but what good will that do? The only change we can make is when the time comes for elections, and NOT forget what they did to our STUDENTS, and schools. GET THEM OUT IN THE NEXT ROUND OF ELECTIONS!
If cuts are to be made as far away from the classroom as possible, then the ESC should just be emptied of supervisors. Law says we HAVE to have a superintendent? Fine. Go to the 2000 pay level, give him a male secretary, and let everybody else go. The teachers, maintenance folks, bus drivers, and secretaries are smart enough to figure out how to run the schools with what's left. Who knows; some creative solutions might come up.
I agree that the administration should first be required to take unpaid days, have their pay reduced, etc. Let's be realistic. The district administration is crooked as a boar's penis.
If they actually took time off without pay, do you not think that they would find a way to reinvent that income with extra duty pay, overtime, etc.?
The mere suggestion that administration would follow suit implies that they are possessed with some degree of integrity. There is no real need to discuss this point.
The fact remains that we have a contract which specifies duration, pay rate, etc. The only thing I am inclined to offer the district is an obscene gesture. Shame on anyone who considers acquiescing to the district request for givebacks. You are not saving fellow workers their jobs, merely empowering an already corrupt administration.
Anyone with a modest amount of grey matter would regard this situation as a cry to ACTIVELY campaign for new school board members.
I have spent hours enlightening the parents and community about “what goes on in the inside.” The current economic situation makes people think of these things is a less favorable manner than usual. Make the effort to provide this outreach and you will be working for a collective goal of improving the school district.
Cherry the custodian supervisor, Oh where oh where have you been. I don't see you, much anymore. Did you get in some kinda trouble?
The custodian supervisor that you're talking about.
She got caught in a big fat LIE!
In my own words, I think the pressure is getting to a lot of these self called leaders, that have No! leadership skills. Just look up from this spot.
As another example of a different approach to educational budget cutting, Columbia Basin College(no, not an exact comparision) has made a major part of its' required cuts to ADMINISTRATION. Yes, they will cut enrollment by 800-1000 (10-15%) but the first cuts are to the top. And building expansion plans (like the new ESC?) are being shelved.
Actually I believe our plans for the new ESC (which was originally supposed to be only a new Transportation base) were shelved A LONG time ago.
The construction of the new administration site (along with Transportation) was to be funded from the lavish riches resulting from the long-term lease with Cypress Equities.
The new site is not a victim of the economy but rather poor planning. If the developer was placed firmly on the hook, construction could have already started.
"No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks." Mary Wollstone, British writer and philosopher.
The school district leadership is making the decisions,and in the process they may take raises. They may exclude people from meetings because it makes them happy. They may refuse to allow the community a voice because it makes them happy.
As Tam Osbourne once said, "The principal may say anything he/she wishes, in any way he/she wishes to any teacher. They may assign teachers as they wish (even if they are not qualified to teach the course). They may go through any teacher's classroom, at any time.
Under this philosophy they may also use threatening body language or forceful, intimidating language to "encourage" better behavior." Not that we don't all consider our own happiness when making choices, but most of us do not make choices that effect so many children for better or worse. Most of us make choices in a compassionate and educated manner.
We use educationally sound reasons for making our choices for the classroom. We follow the great leaders - Like Bill Gates, who believes in project based learning, and put it into practice. Edmonds School District actively destroyed some of the best programs starting around 2003 because it made someone happy. So much for our children.
Hey Nick! next community budget meeting, how about you limit your comments to the time allotted so we can get to what we're there to get to? Like the second page of the budget cuts proposals??? Like we need you and your economic "wisdom" to tell us how the "economy" (not bad decisions by the ESC) have gotten us into this mess! That's better left to that expensive newsletter that we all read.
Instead of trying to cut costs by cutting 4 elementaries to half time librarians, how about cutting some elementaries to half time administrators? That would save a lot more money than a paltry certificated salary.
Half time administrators? Sounds good to me....ours is only here half time anyway!
I read, with interest, in the Herald newspaper today, that students, parents, wearing T-shirts with "Save Music, Save Jeff", written in puffy paint, filed into the School Board Budget meeting to express their support of a music teacher being "riffed". In the article, the parents asked permission to raise money to pay the salaries of specific teachers who recently received "pink slips". I am happy to hear that parents and students are attending School Board meetings; I hope the Board members are listening.
If cuts were made at the TOP (Administration), there would be NO need to issue "pink slip". The budget cuts are only hurting the KIDS; school districts need to to place KIDS FIRST, when making decions on budget cuts, however, this will NEVER change in the Edmonds School District unless parents and the public stand up to them and DEMAND their tax dollars are directed toward educating KIDS, not enhancing Administrator's salaries. Enrollment is down, yet the district employs four assistant Superintendents, which costs tax payers "BIG BUCKS". In the psat, the distict had ONE Assistant Superintendent, Evelyn Freeman. Enrollment was up in those days, and things ran smooothly. What's wrong with this picture? PARENTS; PLEASE GET INVOLVED.
The Edmonds School District has a lot more than just three three assistant superintendents.
Are you all considering the Assistant Superintendent that Marla and Nick created a position for in Teaching and Learning? Just want to make sure that they all get counted while Marla and Nick do their best to hide them from the public. There are more lies and deception yet to come before this one is over.
So they haven't "changed" the list in quite a while yet here on this second version...they altered library and gave back some of it. It makes me sick to think that elementary librarians teach HALF the time of PE and Music and yet get paid the same amount. I have tried talking with people...but who to talk to? I know that some librarians do a fantastic job. Mine? Not so much...but oh yeah...I forgot...not much job quality regulation in the public school system...yet 12 MUSIC TEACHERS...EXPERIENCED, GOOD, TALENTED MUSIC TEACHERS get cut...changing their lives...and librarians will continue to teach half time and get paid what everyone else does. Where will this end?
The 4 schools being targeted will have the librarians teaching FULL time (not half time) but doing the work of TWO librarians two buildings, 800 kids, two staffs to support for the same pay the other elementary librarians do who will be doing. The music cuts are hard to stomach, but at least the cuts are being made equitably across ALL of the schools, not just 4 "select" schools.
First, I'm saddened to see this turn into a "librarians v. music teachers" for some commenters. Both are important for our students, both contribute to student growth and learning. Turning on each other isn't the solution.
Second, we actually have SIX assistant superintendents, including one who currently teaches part time at a 4yr university, in addition to superintendent duties. Deeper, effective cuts at the top are warranted. The "freezing pay" and other actions are minor, relatively painless things - something they can use as a ready pat answer to the public's inevitable questions, enabling them to move on to the next question.
That being said, cuts of this magnitude are not easy even on the district. They're easy targets, but cuts have to be made, and the cutters are going to be unpopular, regardless. It is interesting though, that the cuts affecting THEM are relatively painless, while the cuts affecting others can be quite devastating.
I'm hoping our board keeps the big picture in mind, and commits to working in support of students -- not just those staff members with whom they work closely...
Seem like the district can't make up its mind with titles. First its Executive Director doing Assist. Supt. works so we need to change the title to match the duties but OH wait community complaining about too many Assist. Supts.so we better change the title back to Executive Director so it looks better in the flow chart. Do they think we have no brains? So no is the Executive Directors doing duties for that title or are we paying them same as Assist. Supt and they are doing those duties for that pay. What is wrong with this picture?
As one of the posters in the "librarians vs music teachers" conversation the above commenter referred to, I'm not sure where you got the "librarians versus music teachers" idea. Perhaps my writing was unclear. It's the INEQUITY of the library cuts to JUST FOUR SCHOOLS! that I take exception to. All of the cuts hurt, But how is it justified to give some schools less educational support than others. If the cuts were district wide, I'd understand it better. Doesn't it make sense that the cuts be made equitibly??As a parent of a student at one of the affected schools, it's hard to feel good about my child's education when the school next door gets full support and his school doesn't just because the school next door has 10 more kids. That was the point I was trying to make. Another seemingly arbitrary stupid decision by this administration.
LAKE WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT IS CUTTING 10.5 FTE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS! WAKE UP TAXPAYERS! DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EDMONDS SCHOOL DISTRICT!
I agree with "anonymous" about the library cuts not being equitable...I heard about the fact that a couple of librarians are now split between two schools. And you are right, that's not equitable. But welcome to our world...music teachers have been split for years. I don't want to have a debate about library vs. music. But where is the equity in funding a full time position for half time teaching? And you know, the music cuts aren't equitable. If they make a final decision about eliminating 5th grade instrumental music, I want the world to know that not one elementary instrumental teacher will lose their job. Not one.
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