TLP: That'll Teach Nancy To Tweet
No matter how long you've been out of school, you know that when recess was canceled, something big was going on. Try telling that to the members of Congress who returned from their recess — tweeted back to Washington by @SpeakerPelosi — to approve $10 billion in funding so that school districts could avoid teacher layoffs. What seemed so urgent two weeks ago apparently isn't so critical for some schools.
As schools handed out pink slips to teachers this spring, states made a beeline to Washington to plead for money for their ravaged education budgets. But now that the federal government has come through with $10 billion, some of the nation’s biggest school districts are balking at using their share of the money to hire teachers right away.This has "the dog ate my homework" written all over it. And how well did that kind of excuse ever go down in class?
With the economic outlook weakening, they argue that big deficits are looming for the next academic year and that they need to preserve the funds to prevent future layoffs. Los Angeles, for example, is projecting a $280 million budget shortfall next year that could threaten more jobs.
“You’ve got this herculean task to deal with next year’s deficit,” said Lydia L. Ramos, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest after New York City.
“So if there’s a way that you can lessen the blow for next year,” she said, “we feel like it would be responsible to try to do that.”
The district laid off 682 teachers and counselors and about 2,000 support workers this spring and was not sure it would be able to hire any of them back with the stimulus money. The district says it could be forced to cut 4,500 more people next year.
And, really, children, let's please follow the rules.
The education measure requires states to distribute the money for the current school year, but allows school districts to spend it as late as September 2012. It also allows schools to roll back furlough days. The education department estimates it could salvage about 160,000 jobs.Of course, it does say that Obama said that last week. He may have changed his mind by now, too.
“We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe,” President Obama said last week. “That doesn’t make sense.”