Our school just announced another round of budget cuts. This round was deep and we are still smarting from it. Teachers with master’s degrees have taken a $5,000 pay cut. Classroom budgets were slashed from $1,000 to $500 each (we purchase all our own materials and prepare our own curriculum). All professional development has been frozen.
My boss, the job coach coordinator, had her schedule cut to three days a week at a loss of 40% of her salary. She is the glue that holds 20 job coaches and their training sites together. Our principal now works only four days a week and I am assuming she took a 20% pay cut. One office staff person lost a day a week as well. The job coaches—that’s me—also had their day shortened, mine by one half-hour (we are paid an hourly rate). All staff must be out of the building by 4 p.m. to save on electricity. There are other smaller cuts as well.
The morale at school is, understandably, low. The rumors about our future are plenty. Will our school survive? Is everything possible being done to get us grant money, stimulus money, any money? Why haven’t the parents been informed in this whole process and why are we not asking them for donations? Why are we not doing more fundraising? What other cuts are going to be made? Every staff member is asking him or herself, “How secure is my job?”
What are other schools doing to make ends meet? I know the state of Michigan is particularly hard hit, but what can be done? I do not know how much thinner or leaner we can become without destroying our program completely. We need HELP!