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You’ve got to be Kulon-joking…

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 Oregonian

Thursday February 19, 2009, 11:51 AM

Gov. Ted Kulongoski said today that teachers should be prepared to work without pay in order to keep schools open.

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.

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On a serious note…

With the rapid and consistent decline of the economy, the important of education is becoming more apparent… and it’s not looking good.  There is talk of the state denying payment to the school districts for 15 school days or even a whole month.

Getting out of school in May would be a change.  There has been consistent chatter around our school about what would happen if teachers would have to go without pay for a month.  Some are in precarious situations, some of my coworkers are the only working parent in their family and others, like Jess and I, both get our income from the school district.

In our district, we have already given up 3 school days (sadly, they were our snow days) which just from my pay alone, took a $600 pay hit.  I’ll let you plow through the math to see what 15 days or more would look like.

Sometimes it feels as though education is the punching bag sometimes.  The mantra that teachers earn too much, get too much vacation, have a job that is too easy.  All misnomers, I assure you.  But that’s not the worst part, that would be the rampant claims of “Education is important, we have to fund schools!”  I understand we’re taking a hit, but when you drown education, you can’t expect it to reach the already difficult goals (thanks, NCLB).

Ironically, this isn’t a gripe… more of a rant.  It is kind of astounding that there are billions given to business, in turn, these business buy a $87,000 rug which would easily fund two teachers for a year.  Not to mention the $1,400 garbage can that would be a hefty load of text books.  What does a $1,400 garbage can look like anyways?  I’d be afraid to throw stuff away in it.  I bet there is expensive garbage for that can.

Early summer?  Second job?  Keeping our jobs?

Who knows?

Just slightly daugnting.