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is this a solution?

August 31, 2009

tuesday morning, september 1st, marks my kiddos first day of school. kota is now a 7th grader and kass is now in 10th.

this school year will be quite different. our state does not know how to budget money. they can spend it. just not budget it. our schools are broke. very broke…in more ways than one.  so… in order for our district to save money, they have cut 26 school days this year.

yup. an entire month.

we are now a 4 day school week district. tuesday thru friday. which happens to work beautifully for our family beings we are at church from saturday 3:30 til basically sunday 1 pm’ish. my kids can actually take all of monday and have a full day off. but what about the parents who have to get childcare? now even more money comes out of their pockets.

i dont know how this is fixing the problem. we’re still paying the same amt in taxes, if not a bit more, for our schools. and…its costing more and more each year to register the kids into public schools. yet…theyre getting less instructional days.

im so thoroughly confused by this. cutting days vs balance budget.

cutting days won. is this the solution? or have i completely missed something?

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36 Comments leave one →
  1. Heidi permalink
    August 31, 2009 9:14 pm

    Instead of Chula Vista, CA schools going to 4 day weeks, we have this funky schedule. My kids started school July 27, Homecoming is this Friday. They get a fall break at the end of Sept til 2nd week of Oct, then 3 weeks in Dec, than 2 weeks in March. It’s screwy. Especially since I work FULL time. I have an 8 year old who can’t stay home alone. So instead of Ca being they are BREAKING me. That sucks!! (can I say suck here?) I have to pay the childcare!!!

    Politicans need to have kids again. They need to pick up my grocery bills, band fees, and childcare for the month on MY paycheck not theirs. If I am blessed I have enough for a Jack and the box taco special at the end of the month.

    Okay I am done ranting.

    Thank you

    • August 31, 2009 9:23 pm

      Heidi, this hurts me for you. A lot. I love you (and miss you…. I’m MIA a lot lately!)

  2. August 31, 2009 9:16 pm

    Wow. That’s a really tough situation. And I thought we had a messed up school district! We are delayed 2 days because the construction going on inside ALL the schools is incomplete. Oh, and when I do send my kiddo to school, I have to send her with water since they apparently don’t have potable water in the school yet. Makes me wonder about the water in that school last year (1st and 2nd grade are in a different school.)

    I can imagine that the kids are happy with the 4 day week. But you’re right…what about the working parents? I too wonder what “they” are thinking sometimes!!

  3. August 31, 2009 9:26 pm

    Right now would NOT be the best time for me to offer my opinion of the public school system since I just spent the weekend eyeball deep in homeschool info and curriculum. (Dylan just started Kinder. last week)

    But no, NOT a solution at all. More problems. More money. More selfish people making rules for our kids that will not benefit them in the long run, it will only hinder their education and in the end cost you MORE money. And now they will have to cram MORE “schooling” into their days b/c they cut the year short by a month. Yes, because that is what they need….

  4. August 31, 2009 9:35 pm

    it is no kind of solution – it will ultimately only add further problems to what is becoming an increasingly dysfunctional country and bureaucracy.

    it is a choice – not a solution.

    i have said before that personally it is not a choice i would be prepared to accept from MY government.

    Maybe Oregonians and i have differing beliefs?

    Our Children ARE the future of our community.

    a VITAL part of that is our children’s education.

    To think that it is somehow acceptible that my child can afford to lose 20% of their practical education time and that if i were a working parent i am somehow to find a way to afford child care for a day in the process is something i just don’t understand?

    i understand very well that the US is finding it harder and harder to maintain the level of lifestyle they have grown used to as being ‘normal’ and that government has to find ever more money from a diminishing workforce versus continually spiralling costs.

    i would hope that as far as my child’s education is concerned that if the number of days is reduced to save some costs ( do teachers salaries then get reduced by 20% also?) that the time they are being paid the same or more to receive while attending school increases over each of the other four days so as to ensure they don’t fall behind what other children are receiving – especially in other countries who do seem to place great value upon the provision of education for their kids?

    i think you are missing something – or more exactly your kids are.

    You seem to have hit the nail quite nicely Tam.

    <B

  5. August 31, 2009 10:23 pm

    First off, I want to say “Hello” to Love. Haven’t talked to you in a LONG while.

    Second off, Tammy, you just happened to hit a blog post that I can add a LOT too. Haha.

    Cutting days, it’s not a solution…it is a last resort.

    I have plenty of hard feelings towards our government, and the problems we are having because of them. But that’s not the issue.

    It is not about the fact that the ‘state’, or more so the schools, can’t budget the money. Because I would say they do a great job of budgeting their money. The fact of the matter is, there just isn’t any money there. So the money they do have, they budget it as best they can.

    Love, when they cut days out of the school year, teachers lose pay. That is why they cut days, because it saves money. Or more so, keeps the school from spending money they don’t have.

    I wrote a research paper on the funding issues that we face in the public school system. I am more than willing to share the paper I wrote, or the information that I know. But I know Tammy has a 500 word limit, and my paper is close to 2,000.

    So if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer them. And in case your wondering, I am going to be a public school teacher. So Elementary Education is my major, and I am happy to share what I know with you. Bran found that out the hard way ; )

    God Bless

    • September 1, 2009 1:03 am

      T-man! it sure has been a time. But i understand well how a student life can be. Hope you are doing it proud!

      i’d be quite interested in your thoughts/paper, if you can post them on your blog or email me a copy that would be cool – you should have my email add from your blog-comments? Drop by and leave a message at my blog if you don’t and i’ll send you a reply. I’m on Tam’s list to the right! ====>

      Over here in Aus some companies have tried reducing the hours/days workers work so as to ‘save’ the company and keep people in jobs, because of the Financial Crisis we had to have (Thank You under-regulated American Banking System), but to do it to schools, teachers and students would not be tollerated.

      Sadly cutbacks in government spending have negatively impacted on our hospitals and police force, and education system to a smaller extent, but this is not entirely due to the Credit Crunch as much as it is an aging workforce and diminishing manufacturing sector.

      i wonder what ‘solutions’ you were able to suggest for your state and federal govt’s?

      <B

    • September 1, 2009 10:38 am

      I did NOT find out the hard way! That was some great info you gave me dude! I was thrilled you were able to share it with me. Making one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and all the info I can get helps. 😀 We have sort of made a tentative decision for now btw, since Jake is 100% opposed to it for the time being. *sigh* So for now I pray and learn all I can. If we can’t do it united, then we can’t do it. I’ll update you more in an email later!

      Can you by DYlan’s teacher?? LOL 😉

      • September 1, 2009 2:19 pm

        Haha, your welcome for all the info Bran. It’s nice to know that what I have been studying in school is actually paying off! AND that I am actually remember what I have learned! Now that is the trick!

        And how much would the job pay? 😉 Because I am sure we could arrange something ^_^

        • September 1, 2009 7:03 pm

          Free room and board if you teach him here at home! haha! 😉 I’m a good cook! HAHA!

  6. September 1, 2009 3:15 am

    I think Love said everything an Aussie needs to add to this. V.sad situation (though glad it works well for your fam Tam…gotta find the positives huh!)

  7. September 1, 2009 3:26 am

    They’re allowed to do this? And it costs you to register your kids in state school? (I take it that’s what you mean by public school, like it’s not private/independent school?) What happens if families can’t afford it, do they still have to pay? If they can’t, do their kids just miss out on their education?

    It all sounds totally crazy to me. As far as I know in Scotland (and rest of UK) like our healthcare system – you pay your taxes, it goes into the collective pot and every kid gets their education from preschool until they are 18 (they can leave school by choice once they are 16). If people want and have the means to have their child homeschooled or privately educated they can.

    For sure our local authorities aren’t so great with the budgeting either like at one point the local authority gave all this money for new Macs (thanks Tony Blair for your ‘a computer in every classroom’ scheme….so we had no money for things like jotters and paper!!). But I will say most schools do the best they can with the money they’ve got.

    Great that it does work out for your family, and I believe in learning from outside of school as well as in school…but feel sorry for the families that it puts a strain on, the pressure on teachers and the pay cuts teachers must be getting from working a 4 day week…..eek!

    • September 1, 2009 8:02 am

      No, the kids cannot miss out on a public education (unless the parent just refuses to take them to school). Believe it or not, they have a right to it. There is an education act called FAPE, which stands for Free And Appropriate Education. And by ‘Free’ they mean free to the student, and funded by the public, which is why it is public school.

      FAPE applies to everyone. In 1973 the Rehabilitation act under section 504 states, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .”

      So what all this means, is that students all have the right to a free public education, from K-12.

      God Bless

  8. September 1, 2009 4:46 am

    Wow, I did not know that schools were cutting days… I think cutting days is a stop-gap measure used by legislators trying to keep their constituencies happy.

    I think we’re seeing the impact of private schooling + homeschooling + an aging baby-boomer generation + the recession. Tam, I think you and B are in a minority now: that is, you have children in public schools. The elected officials are (vehemently) unwilling to raise taxes to fund your childrens’ education. Such an action would inflame ALL the voters. This “innovative” 4-day school week (tongue-in-cheek) only upsets parents of public school children.

  9. September 1, 2009 5:57 am

    I’m pretty sure throwing money at most problems is never the right solution long term. And I’m almost double sure that cutting days to “save” money is probably not the right solution either. Nobody wins.

    I went to public school.

    I want to send my kids to public school, if it exists when I have kids.

    I think the solution would be creative brainstorming/problem solving. The issue seems to be driven too much by the almighty dollar. Sure, it takes green to run schools. But the world has been educating the young for millenia just fine. That doesn’t mean everyone got the SAME education, but I think if our politicians and school boards could all get on the same page and realize that QUALITY education doesn’t solely depend on the QUANTITY of money associated with it.

    That being said, I know you have to pay good teachers to keep them.

    • September 1, 2009 7:51 am

      Hey Russ, I wish the solution was that simple, but it’s not. It takes money to run a school, and lots of it.

      I wish it was something as simple as, “the world has been educating the young for millenia just fine.” But you need to take into account how the world has been educating the young. As far as the worlds time frame goes, schools are still pretty young. Most children go their education from their parents, if any education at all. Most of the education was on basic ways of life and survival. The parents had a much greater stake in their child’s up bringing.

      So if we want something like that to happen, parents are going to have to step up to the plate and help educate their children with the public schools.

      But the problem is, they typical ‘family’ in America is a single parents trying to make it, working WAY too much, but has no other option. So that makes things hard.

      I would love to say that money would solve all of the problems too, but that wouldn’t. Understandable, it would help a lot, but it wouldn’t solve the problem.

      God Bless

  10. September 1, 2009 6:07 am

    (the following comment contains no tact)

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think kids are in school way too much. I would love to see a 4 day school week …or even 3. At the same time, I think parents work too much also.

    I feel like my daughter is being robbed every day because school starts at 7:45 am. This is because dual income parents demand it so they can get on the road to work.

    • September 1, 2009 10:33 am

      i think youre right. i think a lot of parents have grown too dependent on the school “system” as a babysitter….to some extent. so when days are cut, like in our case, it really shakes up their plans a bit.

      on the flip side – many dual income families are still just getting by on minimum wage while trying not to abuse the system (welfare) so when days are cut it equally shakes them too.

      i personally think a 4 day work/school week is very healthy. one of my first jobs was a 4 day work week and the employee performance there was off the charts successful. it definitely has its advantages so long as things are still getting done.

    • September 1, 2009 10:34 am

      oh, and your comment was most certainly not tactless, vince. 🙂

  11. September 1, 2009 9:56 am

    I agree that the system is broken. (As is so many other government institutions). And I don’t know what the answer is, but the schools are doing what they have to do. Cutting school days was a last resort. I don’t know much about Central Point, but I know that Medford was trying to get the teachers to take a large pay cut so they wouldn’t have to cut school days. Which seems so backwards! These are the people that are providing the environment in which children learn. Teachers should be revered, not asked to take LESS pay.

    Like I said, I have no answers, only frustrations. Medford ended up still cutting pay some, and cutting a few days. However, I will say that according to Medford, they lengthened the school day, to make up for the missed days. So the kids are still getting the same amount of classroom hours, just less days.

    • September 1, 2009 2:23 pm

      I agree they shouldn’t cut teachers pay…I just spend $x0,000 on my college education and they are already cutting back my wages….Stupid!

      And as far as cut days go, they extent the length of the schools days as to “take up the slack”. That way the students are missing out on ‘educational time’

  12. September 1, 2009 10:27 am

    the schools are stuck in the govt’s vice. govt keeps cutting school funding so they can fund other things, i guess…im not IN the govt – just my suspicions.

    however, i do know that many of our school officials are making 6 figure salaries. i had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend, al, this weekend. Al is the founder of musicians friends (guitar center) – and he was sharing how many, many times he went without pay so that his employees could get their check. its just good business and ethics.

    im sure there are plenty of places (salaries) where schools can cut a bit to further help avoiding any more day cuts. but i dont see that happening anytime soon.

    we, as parents, will pick up the slack – we always do…it is our job, our honor and privilege to do so. thats not the problem. its the misuse of our tax dollars and the affects it is having on so many that is the bigger issue for me.

    greed.

    sucks.

  13. September 1, 2009 12:02 pm

    OK, I usually try to avoid these discussions since I sell to schools and my wife is an educator but I will add my 2 cents….probably all it is worth.

    The schools are NOT broke. Really they are not.

    You have paid your taxes. They have Federal Funding through Title I, II, V and so on.

    They have been funded through Reading First, Teaching American History and many other grant programs.

    You have state funding for schools which could be lower than normal due to tax adjustments and so on but not huge critical amounts.

    You also have PTO’s and the money and time you as parents put into your schools.

    Here is the problem…and I can say this with 100% certainty because I see it in every single school system I work with.

    THEY WASTE A TON OF MONEY!

    I see schools with 5 playgrounds, one for each grade…ok, stupid if you ask me. A playground runs about 30K per playground.
    I see the purchase and re-purchase of teaching tools that there already is a back stock of.
    I see Administrators that do not do anything that have token jobs in a Central office making 75-100k per year because the school unions have set up a system where they cannot be fired.
    I see a complete wastes of money go to after school programs, new materials and other items that NEVER get used
    I see a ton of waste on busing and the lack of logistics ever.
    I see piles of money go into technology that never even gets hooked up into the school.

    If you want to be mad….oh I would be. Take a very close look at the books as parents. DEMAND you see them. Then I would go after EVERYONE on the school board for some accountability on where all of this money is going.

    A day off a week is not acceptable when I can promise you a little looking will uncover millions of dollars in waste.

    Wow, off that high horse.

    • September 1, 2009 12:04 pm

      OH, and you want to see the books…they by law have to be posted by the school districts on local and state web sites…..I promise that if you sit with it for 30 minutes you can find 1 million dollars…easy.

      • September 1, 2009 12:40 pm

        im trying to google this but have no idea where to even start.

        hmph.

        • September 1, 2009 8:05 pm

          Tam – the place to start ‘googling’ is your local State and Federal Representative of your respective congress (politicians). YOU are paying (Brent is?) their salaries to work for YOU! (and Kass and Kota).

          Go down to their local office or email them and tell them your concern and ask where you can find the book ‘listing’ on the web or in a library. Get to KNOW them – they are representing YOU and your community after all in Government.

          Governments are not a faceless nameless evil organisation – they are made up of people mostly like you in many respects and are supposed to be puting before those who decide things nation or state wide what YOU want. They can’t do this effectively unless you all tell them what that actually IS.

          The BEST way to do this is face to face (and if you can slip them $10 grand like large businesses are able to they tend to take some notice of that also). 😉

          It’s your Kids FUTURE that is at stake – don’t just let it slide without someone hearing your concern and taking notice.

          Sic ’em Tam!

          <B

      • September 1, 2009 2:27 pm

        Agreed, the schools have SO much money! They don’t spend it wisely, and if they should be throwing money at anything, or anyone, it should be the teachers!

    • September 1, 2009 12:39 pm

      this, i will take your word on, friend. i know it is ridiculous the way money is spent in the schools. i worked in the elementary school for 2 yrs. ive seen it too.

      youre right…the schools are not broke, in terms of money. but the flagrant misuse of it is breaking the system into pieces. it is sad.

      you have definitely inspired me to take a look at their books tho!

      • September 1, 2009 8:11 pm

        D’OH! – when Joseph said ‘books’ he meant the school ACCOUNTS! Not their students study books?

        You American’s talk funny! 😉

        <B

  14. September 1, 2009 9:18 pm

    Trav – i used to work in the Aus federal education recurrent grants department that paid government and non-government schools so i have a background that gives me one perspective on this issue.

    In many schools teachers and staff salaries comprised around 75-80% of a school’s funding budget so cutting costs from all other areas could produce only limited results.

    As for teachers in your area working longer hours to ‘fill up’ the loss of a day a week, that does not make a whole lot of sense – teachers are paid a salary based upon hours of work (both curricular and extra-curricular – many teachers are required to work tens of hours at home for each school week and even ‘vacation’ weeks) if the teachers are teaching the kids the same number of hours then how can the salaries be reduced? If the salaries and teaching hours are the same then why a four day school week?

    ( i see from your paper – nice job – that Schools hope to ‘save’ 10% of school hours/salaries through a 20% cut in actual days spent at school. I wonder if the schools have any plans to use their facilities on the non-student days to earn extra income??) 🙂

    <B

    • September 2, 2009 9:57 am

      I’m sorry I just balked at the idea of a 7.45 a.m. start for school.

      I thought my 8.30 a.m. high school start was bad. And in Edinburgh we get half-days on Fridays for kids in state school.

      so what is the average day for a kindergarten/elementary/middle school/high school student?

      And what is K-12?

      (sorry for the questions, I’m just curious and fully confess to all my american education system knowledge coming from Sweet Valley Twins/High, Babysitter’s Club and Dawson’s Creek)….

      • September 2, 2009 10:37 am

        some kindergartens go half days. right now my kids schedule is…

        tuesday thru friday 8:50 – 3:35

        which isnt bad, at all. and they even added a few minutes to the day too.

        and i totally miss dawsons creek. i loved that show. especially “pacey”? (sp?)

        • September 2, 2009 6:01 pm

          Tammy, it really depends on the kindergarten. There are a lot of kindergartens that go full day….and that is a long day for those little kids!

          • September 2, 2009 6:14 pm

            i know. thats why i said “some” go half days. when i used to teach at CP Elementary they had just switched from 1/2 to full day. but i know there are some schools who still do 1/2 days as well. and i, also, realize that is a long day for those little ones.

  15. September 2, 2009 3:08 pm

    This is generalised, and there’ll be some variations on times but…

    Preschool here (age 3/4) is half days too (unless you do private nursery).

    Primary 1-3 (age 4-7) is 8.50-2.45 Mon-Thurs and 8.50-12.25 Fri
    Primary 4-7 (age 8-11) is 8.50-3.15 Mon-Thurs 8.50-12.25 Fri

    And my high school (11-18) was 8.30-3.40 Mon-Thurs (although we got out a little early on Wednesdays!) 8.30-12.25 Fri

    I think because we did half-days on Fridays we got less holiday though.

    I miss Dawson’s Creek too. Someone borrowed my boxset of the first season when I was in uni and never gave me it back. Grr. Awww….Pacey. And Jack – always wanted friends like Pacey and Jack.

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