Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reppin' and Schleppin'

The pace of change around my school is so breakneck, I can barely keep up with everything that's going on.

There were three job openings. Two of them were Title and Preschool; didn't expect anyone to access those. Friday I get shocked when a 2nd grade teacher and 5th grade teacher decide they want to transfer. That displaced the people who were in those spots now float around until we have the next round of job openings, which could be accessed by anyone, and the merry-go-round keeps turning. There are 30 teachers in my building; I think that at least 8 of them will end up in a different classroom next year. Under certain scenarios, we could have a whole new 6th grade team, 3/4ths of our 2nd grade team, and an entirely new preschool. I had Friday off; I was supposed to be writing a couple of grants and working on our student recognition program, but I ended up having about 15 different conferences to explain what our contract says about transfers. This is a big one, and it'll probably eat up a lot of my time between now and the end of the year.

Yesterday I lost an involuntary transfer battle that I'd been fighting for the past two months. The odds were slim to none that I had a shot at winning, but all the same I'm pretty saddened by the whole thing. The part that bugs me the most is that he's the only other male teacher in my building. That'll make the ratio 50 girls for every boy, when you figure in the paras.

Yesterday was also our big district budgeting meeting. We planned for $600k in cuts, contingent on what happened with the legislature and whether our impact aide money from the feds comes through. Cutting sucks, but God help me I have to agree with the administration on this one: the cost-of-living increase is going to cost us nearly $160k, because of positions that aren't funded by the state but get the COLA anyways. Throw in the health care increase, the retirement increase, fuel costs, shipping costs, legal costs....it adds up, fast.

Today our principal shocked everybody and announced he was retiring. He's only been with us for a couple of years, but the thought of a change at the top has everyone very, very nervous. There are two in-district possibilities; our school psych, who was the administrative assistant in my building this year, and the VP over at the HS. They could look out-of-district, too. My piece in this, as the union guy, will be to make sure that the teacher voice is heard when they do the interviews. We haven't hired a principal in my building in nearly 18 years (the last change was a transfer, not a hire), so it'll be something new to almost all of us.

All this, in just the last five days. I keep having to remind myself to take care of my own needs and the needs of my classroom, because there are times (shouldn't be, but there are) that I get so caught up in taking care of the rest of the staff I neglect my primary responsiblity. My wife's great about the whole thing, which helps.

I called a union meeting for my building tomorrow. Hopefully that'll clear the air and get us pointed in a positive direction. If I can get the transfers figured out and get people settled into their new positions, then I can focus on the principal search and make sure we get our place at the table.

Just another week as the union rep.

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