Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Evening: School Consolidation

My evening consisted of sitting in on a consolidation study in order to determine whether or not this particular action would be beneficial for the schools in our particular area.

You see, hometown high is made up of three different feeder schools.

And while consolidation would mean very positive things for curriculum articulation, I don't believe very many people would be on board due to the other potential problems.

Problem #1--Tax Caps.

If every district chooses to be involved in this particular action, two of the districts that currently feed us would lose their tax caps.  I can guarantee you that 75% of the people in these counties aren't going to agree to losing tax caps--whether it benefits education in the long run or not.  And say all you want about tax rates in comparison to other counties.  No one in THIS county is going to see it that way.

Problem #2--Collective Bargaining Agreements

Consolidation would require one collective bargaining agreement as opposed to the four that are currently in effect.  This could create all sorts of issues, because no salary schedule is the same.  Ideally, all the other districts would be brought up to the salary level of the high school teachers, but that's certainly not a guarantee.  In one instance, that would mean doubling the average salary of the teachers involved.  Call me crazy, but I don't think many tax payers are going to see that added expense as a benefit.

PLUS, those of us with excellent collective bargaining agreements stand to lose some pretty hefty benefits.  There is no guarantee we WOULD lose them; however, there are no guarantees we would keep those benefits either.

Personally, I find that disconcerting.

Problem #3--Seniority

This problem doesn't really affect the high school at this current stage in the game.  But I could see how grade school teachers would get their panties in a twist about the loss of seniority and jobs.

In other words, it wouldn't matter which district hired you.  You would be graded according to how many years of service you have provided.  If your years of service are less than other teachers and the administration determines there are fewer jobs available due to consolidation, you now become unemployed--even if the person they keep OVER you was hired in a completely different district.

Here's another reason I find this issue so disturbing:  In my state, the government is pushing the concept of consolidation pretty hard.  If the government continues to promote these particular ideas, it isn't too over the top to consider high school consolidations in the future.  This means that even though I was hired at one high school in a completely different district, consolidation makes it possible for me to lose my job if we no longer need 8 English teachers and a teacher from another district has more years of service.

I might be 'borrowing trouble' with that last scenario, but experience has taught me that those over the top situations have a way of becoming reality before very many people consider the pitfalls of those decisions.  So I'm considering them now in hopes that we can look at all sides of the issue and the potentials that come along with it.

So there we are.  I don't think we'll see consolidation in the near future, but I also never believed Governors would be capable of renigging (or reneging--apparently either spelling is appropriate) on contracts--you know, since they're legally binding and all.

Feel free to share your opinions or your experiences.  I'm open to all suggestions despite my current opinions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your post. I could not attend because we have bible school this week and I am teaching a class. I had never thought about the seniority thing. Wow. How about dinner next week so I can hear more about the meeting? Text me and we can set something up. Miss ya!