Friday, March 26 - Budgets, Damn Budgets

It's been an interesting month.  I've attended three Board of Education meetings in the last three weeks, all of them dealing with our school budget. 

Due to major cuts in state financial aid, our BoE had to come up with $2.5M in cuts.  Half of that was a surprise and they had less than 28 hours to come up with sufficient cuts to make up the difference. 

My job could be in jeopardy, but thus far I am safe.  Some of the cuts that were made are still being reviewed and of course, if they should be reinstated, the money will have to come from elsewhere. 

I won't go into much more detail other than to say that the Governor of New Jersey and the State Commissioner of Education are very good at putting out propaganda.  I dare say that they've not had very good teachers of their own otherwise they would realize that their math skills are sadly lacking.  Not to mention the failure to give accurate and complete information to the public.

The final budget hearing is this Wednesday night and I will know definitively at that point if I will still be employed after this contract year.

What scares me though is one of the cuts that they've already made.  They've cut the copy clerk.  Yes, our district has a centralized copy center that our teachers send their copywork to.  The clerk takes care of the copywork for our four schools.  Our individual school copiers are supposed to be used for emergency purposes only.  I repeat "supposed" to be. 

The plan is that they will send the two big copiers to the two biggest schools, and the two smaller schools, one of which is the one I work in, will be using their own machines. 

I asked my principal who exactly would be doing this copywork and he said that he would have the teachers do their own.  This is the plan for the district.

Now here is why I'm scared.  I have a lot of respect for teachers, but sometimes I find that they do not necessarily make the best students.  Especially when the job is out of their comfort zone or expertise.  They will have to be "trained" in the proper use of the copy machine.  This will be easy for some and beyond the dignity of others. 

When I first started working in this office there was a copier in the faculty room for the teachers.  At one point someone came into the office and said it wasn't working.  They had been trying to make an overhead and the overheads just kept disappearing in the machine.  So they gave up and came to ask us to make one on the office copier.  Upon inspection of the faculty copier, it would no longer make copies of any kind so the service tech had to be called.  When he brought up the hunk of plastic that was found inside the machine we could only joke that someone had been trying to make jewelry in the copier. 

Now there will be terms like "collated" and "uncollated", "double-sided from double-sided" and "double-sided from single-sided",  "sorted"or "stacked".  These terms, while simple in theory need you to really think through the job.  And yes, they have had to indicate some of these on the forms that they are now sending to the copy center, but the trick now will be to actually match it up with the function of the machine.

I am scared because some of them are having difficulty operating a coffee pot without making a mess and now they'll be expected to operate a machine worth thousands of dollars. 

Do you think I'm worrying for nothing?  How long before this becomes part of my job?

1 comment:

Arlette said...

I knew exactly what you were getting at as I read through your post. Hmmmm...let me guess. The copy machine is going to be wearing a giant 'L' on her lapel....L for Lorraine, I'm guessing.I hope you don't get cut due to the budget.

It's bad here in Hawaii too. We have this thing called Furlough Fridays. Public school teachers and students don't have school every other Friday due to a shortfall in the budget. What a crock! Education should be our primary concern. Everyone is so mad at the situation that we're in and rightfully so. To make matters worse, they're holding back our State Tax refunds until the second half of the year. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. What a mess!