Friday, August 29, 2008

And I don't even mention the DNC & Barack Obama's Speech

I've never discussed politics here for several reasons; the first being while I watch the news and consider myself a person who votes with knowledge, I don't know a lot about politics. The second reason is it's controversial. And I'd rather have people talking about me because of my exposed 7 year old boobies than my stance on politics. Simply for the record, I will divulge that I am a Democrat and think Hilary Rodham Clinton was robbed.
When it comes to local politics, I know even less than I do on a national level; which really is a shame because we all know it starts at home. However, when it comes to education and the way it's run in my community, I'm in the "need - to - know" category. (As in: I need to know everything.)
My child goes to a privately funded and operated charter school within the Broward County School District. I chose to send my child to a charter school for so many reasons - I cannot possibly list them all but public school here, in my opinion, is less than adequate. I was raised in public school and despite my klassy disposition and brighter than the stars intelligence (what? Stop laughing - it wasn't that funny.) , it did me no good. In addition to my own experience with public education, I've watched many of my family's and friend's children struggle and fail to thrive within the public school system.

Located just South of Broward County is Miami Dade County and their school district; the 4th largest district in the country. Miami Dade County School District's (MDCSD) superintendent is Dr. Rudy Crew. Let me tell you, Dr. Crew is in a heaping load of hot shit. Recently, the state's capital handed down educational budget cuts of historic proportions - mostly due to a "Penny Tax" which promises to lower property taxes by $200 per home over the next 10 years. These budget cuts were a serious problem for MDCSD because they were already up to their ears in debt since bringing on Dr. Crew in 2004. This week, Dr. Crew was asked by the board to balance the district's budget and come up with a plan that everyone could agree on. However, during this balance project, Dr. Crew and his team figured out that the school district was not $66 million dollars in debt as previously thought but $88 million dollars in debt. His reasoning for the astounding debt? He "over-spent" - that's what he says. Here are a few highlights from his "plan" to balance the budget:
1. Eliminated 254 teachers who are part of the bilingual programs (Spanish and Creole).
2. Eliminating 88 career specialists.
3. Cut paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff.
4. Eliminate assistant principals for community school programs.
5. Require administrators to substitute teach one day a month.
6. Eliminate 24 audio / visual clerk positions.
7. Take 22 million dollars from the district's "Rainy Day Fund".

What he did not suggest was reducing or forfeiting his $700,000 salary. He's willing to cut hundreds of jobs in addition to the hundreds of police officers, janitors, cafeteria staff and teachers who were already cut over the summer; but he's not willing to take a pay cut for himself.
How do you propose cutting teachers who are part of the bilingual program in a county where 70 percent of the student body's first language is not English? As for cutting paid Christmas recess days for teachers and staff; I would expect Dr. Crew will be included in that plan, too. But he wont.
My biggest gripe is taking $22 million dollars from the "Rainy Day Fund". This withdraw will leave only 4 million dollars in the fund. For the entire year. For the entire county. Which is the 4th largest district in the US. When Hurricane Wilma ravaged through Broward County three years ago, Broward County School District lost $2 million dollars in food from the lunch program alone. That money was replaced by their "Rainy Day Fund". There are three tropical storms in the Atlantic as I type and we're not even half way through hurricane season yet. To say that MDCSD would be extremely venerable with a mere $4 million dollars in the fund is a gross understatement. The slightest emergency, need or unexpected funding would leave the district completely, flat broke. Living - on - the - street - begging - for - money - on - the - side - of - the - highway - broke.

Even though my child is not a victim student of MDCSD, I consider myself an advocate for equitable and decent education for all children. I'm simply blown away by the enormous insubordinate and neglect this Superintendent has shown this board, the county and poor souls who attend MDCSD.

All I have to say is: God Bless Charter Schools.

1 comment:

Michelle Whitney said...

Can you be so sweet as to write to me and let me know how you switched it from "comments" to "more people bitching" please? My in-laws will LOVE to see that change!