Sunday, August 08, 2010

Senator Patty heroically saves jobs not threatened

Senator Patty Murray is proud that she saved 3,000 teachers from layoff this month. This month's stimulus bill provided money to save thousands of teacher jobs nationwide. But were 3,000 teachers being laid off in Washington? No. How did she save 3,000 jobs then? Since there are not 3,000 teachers at risk where will the money go? The number of teacher facing layoff seems to be less than 200. According to Professional Educators Standards Board found that just 445 were given notices in May, but almost all of those were rescinded and the teachers have a job in the same school district in September. Peter Callahan in Tacoma News Tribune. Where did the money come from? Even the Democrats got the message that they had to use existing funds, not new vapor dollars. From food stamps! What strange priorities - government unions over low-income needy people. TNT Blog
When news broke Wednesday that the U.S. Senate had broken free $10 billion for something called Edujobs, not many people were sure how it would benefit the state. Officials here had been watching the money for Medicaid but not the education measure. Neither Gov. Chris Gregoire nor schools chief Randy Dorn knew how it would work, other than quoting U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's stats that Washington could save 3,000 teaching jobs facing layoffs. But few districts were proposing layoffs in Washington. So how can unplanned layoffs be prevented? It took a while, but I found this assessment by the Education Commission of the States. edujobs It estimates that Washington will get $207 million and must use it to either save jobs or create jobs in public schools. It would be sent to the state and be distributed through regular k-12 funding methods. A safe rule of thumb would be that it would be shared based on student populations so if Tacoma has about 3 percent of the state's public school students it would receive about 3 percent of the money (say, $6 million give or take). The cash must be used for school personnel, not administrative or support staff and there are rules to prevent it from being skimmed to other uses - either to repay debt or back fill for earlier cuts.
The bad news is that the money must be spent this year (possibly next year). It cannot be reassigned to the hungry people who need it. It must be spent in education. We might presume this means they will hire teachers who will work for one year, then be laid off after only one year because their funding went away. That is bad enough. But the K-12 education bureaucracy are creative, hardened in-fighters. They will find reasons to fund people who have secondary jobs (they have to be in a school) and earn the high end of the scale plus extravagant benefits. Patty, why did you perpetrate such an obvious lie? Oh? They are your political supporters?

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