Texas School Districts and Unions Cut Educating the Children First in Budget Cuts
by David Bellow on April 5, 2011 at 2:04 PM
School Districts all across Texas are having to cut back and slim down their budgets. This is a good thing. School Districts are spending outrageous amounts of money on non-educational expenditures like trying to build hotels. They also pay excessive amounts of money to administrators, and in fact, half of all Texas School staff are not even teachers! Also, how about this recent news story exposing how Beaumont ISD paid $90,000 per month for 2 truck rentals when the average rate at ALL truck rental locations for the same 2 trucks is only about $7000 per month. Over half a million dollars wasted.
Texas School Districts have needed to cut their budgets for years, and now they are being forced to trim down because of the statewide budget cuts.
So what have the school districts cut? Did they cut the bloated administration pay? Did they cut out the non-educational spending? Did they fire teachers who have not performed or been convicted of crimes?
Instead, most of them seem to be firing great teachers just because they are new.
You see, the first few years of a teaching career in Texas are probationary years. During a probationary period, a school district can fire the probationary teacher for no reason and without any appeal opportunity for the fired teacher. After a teacher has completed their probationary period they get what is considered to be “tenure.” Basically, a School District has to show a reason to fire the “tenured” teacher and the teacher is allowed to appeal.
Texas does not allow collective bargaining (no real unions) and Texas does not even have tenure. Yet, the State of Texas has dozens of teacher unions and associations. These Texas unions collect millions from teachers to funnel into Texas political issues. These unions cannot do anything about a fired probationary teacher, but the unions do step up and cause school districts trouble when it comes to firing a “tenured” teacher.
So you can guess who the school districts are firing now, right? Probationary teachers!
School Districts do not want to have to take the time to stand up against teacher unions or go through a simple appeal process, so instead they are just simply cutting the probationary staff. They are taking the easy way out so that they do not upset the unions.
This is a HORRIBLE way for school districts to trim their budgets. School districts should be concerned about what is best for educating children. This means that school districts should actually put some thought into who they fire and make the decisions based on merit or performance. For instance, instead of just firing the probationary teachers, school districts should fire the bad teachers (regardless of whether or not they are probationary teachers or “tenured” teachers), and the school districts should also cut out the non-teaching waste. There are many GREAT new teachers that are being fired while many BAD older teachers get to keep their jobs. For instance, this Beaumont ISD non-teaching staff member is still on the payroll even though she was found guilty of stealing money from the government. Also, this overpaid, non-teaching BISD administration official is still on the payroll even though she was just found to have lied about her excessive income in order to get free money meant for low income hurricane victims.
The bottom line is that school districts are not thinking about what is best for the education of children in Texas as they are cutting their budgets. Many School Districts are ONLY firing the probationary staff. This means that they are firing possibly some of the best new teachers in the School District and keeping possibly some of the worst older teachers.
School Districts need to be smarter and think about what is the right thing to do. They need to cut the pork spending and fire the underperforming, and even criminal, teachers instead of just cutting only the new teachers.