I bid adieu to summer vacation Wednesday night.
Department Heads returned to school Thursday and Friday to prepare for three days of meetings with teachers before the students come back to class on Thursday the 26th.
There was a prevailing anxiety these past couple of days, as we anticipated the consequences of the staff cuts and major slashes to the operating budget.
There is no money for supplies.
Since the music program was cut, I am the only fine arts teacher in the building. That means lots more students, because the state mandates one credit of a fine art in order to graduate.
No Max Hayes student can walk across that stage in June without passing my class.
One hundred seventy eight kids in six classes is our contractual limit.
Granted, there have been other years when I had an overflow of students on my roster, but back then there was money in my departmental budget.
Not a lot mind you, I've learned to stretch a buck over the years.
When the district gives me $5 per student to purchase art supplies meant to last a whole year, I honestly feel like a miracle worker. Paper and paint take the place of loaves and fishes.
Being a Title I school, we are not supposed to charge the students or their families any fees for supplies, therefore, many teachers supplement the supply budget from our own pockets.
I try to pick up things when I see a really good sale, and over the course of the school year I typically spend between $500-600.
Most of my colleagues do the same.
This year, with $0 per student, I'm either going to end up spending much more, or I will have to figure out some kind of fund raiser,
If there are any Republicans among you, I really could use some insight here.
We have fewer teachers, no materials, no funding for professional development, and a school levy that is likely to fail. George Bush signed legislation to insure that there is "No Child Left Behind".
Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that in Cleveland we have 73,000 children being left behind.
------------------------------------Update-------Monday, August 23, 2004
Valdis Krebs asked me to post the following comment I sent him in an e-mail earlier today, as a follow-up to this entry:
Today I just learned of four more teachers in our building who were laid off.
We have no master schedule since we don't know who will be teaching.
Positions are still being eliminated as I write to you.
There are no schedules for the students who will be in school Thursday.
This is the biggest crisis I have ever seen in the district. It is sure to get worse in the winter when the levy fails.
This month will be looking like a cake walk