Because free pays my mortgage. Because free is what everyone is being asked to work for. Because free in addition to the 3 days of pay I’ve already voluntarily given up…
From the Oregonian:
Kulongoski to teachers: work for free to keep schools open
by Harry Esteve, The OregonianThursday February 19, 2009, 11:51 AM
SALEM — Teachers should work some days without pay this spring to avoid early school closures, Gov. Ted Kulongoski said today as he laid out his plan to get the state solvent in the teeth of one of its worst-ever recessions.
“The only way we’re going to get out of this is if everybody contributes,” Kulongoski said at a morning news conference. As for teachers: “You do it without pay.”
The governor said he would lead by example. He said he will cut his $93,600 annual salary by 5 percent, and send the difference to the state school fund. He plans to take unpaid “furlough” days as well. He also said he would freeze salaries of state agency managers and other non-union workers, and that he would rescind step increases he approved earlier this year.
Those steps would save the current state budget about $6.2 million. If all state workers agreed to the same freeze it would save another $122 million over the next two years. That’s a token amount, given the size of the current state budget deficit, estimated at about $800 million.
But Kulongoski insisted on strict fiscal discipline over the coming months, despite the pain it might cause. He said he is not interested in tapping into the state’s reserve accounts, worth an estimated $800 million, because he expects the state’s financial problem to only worsen next year.
“I will veto any bill that attempts to raid those funds during this legislative session,” Kulongoski said.
Nonetheless, the governor said he thinks schools could stay open the full year with a combination of sacrifices by school employees and with extra money from the federal stimulus package.
While I voted for Ted and appreciate his willingness to hammer out some details in relation to schools and students, I think this is a ridiculous proposal, if not bordering on illegal. Are we asking police officers or firefighters to work for free? People have already been laid off, every single one of the employees of my district have already sacrificed three days of day. Which we were all happy to do for our district.
I can’t decide what’s worse, proposing that we lose up to 15 days of school (and pay) or being asked to work those days for free. What do I get in return besides sacrificing days I could be working a second job for an actual paycheck? Yes, I would be happy that students retain their seat time. Yes, I would be happy that it would help our district, but at what personal cost to us?
I’m sorry, Teddy. This is not well thought out. Not at all.