The agenda for tonight's Board of Education meeting (which was posted today rather than last Friday, as is policy) contains these personnel actions:
F1-A: "[the]Superintendent…as part of a continuing District-wide reduction in force… under Article 16 of the Board's labor agreement with the Hilliard Education Association OEA/NEA, the employment contracts of the following certificated/licensed employees be suspended, effective with the start of the 2009-10 school year, for lack of funds"
- Jason Kruder (50%) – English/Speech
- Erika Little – Health/Phys Ed
F2/F3: Approve new administrative contracts for Nathan Bobek and Luis Vazquez as Student Services Coordinators at Hilliard Davidson, with two year terms.
Does that make any sense to you? If there is a district-wide reduction in force being carried out because there is a lack of funds, why would two new staffers be hired at the same time two teachers are being laid off?
Because the HEA contract specifies that those lowest in seniority get laid off first, we must assume that these two are our newest hires. I don't know Mr. Kruder or Ms. Little, or which schools they teach in, but if our selection process is a good one, we should be able to assume that they were hired from the large pool of applicants because they have excellent credentials, and the interviewers felt they would be good additions to our district. It's seems a shame to cut them loose just as they are getting their careers started.
I also have little doubt that there are two other more senior and more highly paid teachers who are chronic underperformers who, in a rational world, would have been given their walking papers before these two young teachers. To retain underperforming teachers while terminating two promising teachers seems grotesque, and certainly a waste of taxpayer money.
And then there's the fact that these two personnel actions results in a net headcount change of zero. If this stuff is "all about the kids" – the mantra behind ever decision our school leadership makes – is it true that the kids benefit more by having two fewer teachers and two more Student Services Coordinators?
Finally, a point I've made many times before: Notice that the HEA leadership is willing to sacrifice two of its youngest members in order to protect the salaries and benefits of the rest. Had the HEA instead offered to skip just one year of its 3% base raises, it would have freed up more than enough money to save the jobs of these two teachers.
It's not about the kids. It's not about the teachers either, at least all the teachers.
It's about money, and the use of the political power of the teachers' union to protect those with the most through the involuntary sacrifice of those with the least.