Got a Budget Surplus? Raises for Everyone!
As I said yesterday, giving kids access to fun games that teach them math is not going to solve any of education's big problems... because access to fun educational games is not one of education's big problems! But what is?
But as their budgets begin to improve, boards now face choices about spending increases: Should they raise salaries, lower class sizes or restore programs that had been cut?
Several local boards have opted this year for pay increases, in response to demands from teachers and other employees whose salaries had stagnated.
And so what priorities were left on the cutting room floor? Restoring arts programs, pre-kindergarten and other early intervention programs, summer-school, and decreasing class sizes. (One concerned father expressed worry that his daughter's kindergarten class would max out at 25 students this coming year, which probably sounds like a dream scenario for leagues of kindergarten teachers across the nation.)
The Prince William County district has been pressured in recent years to make budget cuts, and decided this spring to push the limits of its middle and high school class sizes in order to find some extra money. But the money saved, where did it go? Raises for its employees:
'This year the priority was keeping pace with salaries around the region,' said Philip Kavits, a spokesman for Prince William schools. 'We don’t want to lose people.'
On behalf of countless unemployed teachers across America, I think I can safely say that you'd be able to find a few people to take the spots of those who left because teaching just wasn't paying them enough.