Teachers, how has your district handled the budget cuts?

In this time of budget eviscerations, it’s well known a lot of education budgets have been significantly cut back–but I’m curious what those cuts look like close up across the United States (and elsewhere, if applicable).

Please share where you teach (state), what level (elementary/middle/high school/community college/university), and the actions taken by your district to resolve the budget cuts.

And, please remember I started this threadin IMHO, not the Pit or GD. :wink:

Alrighty, I’ll start.

I teach at a middle school in Southern California.

Last year, the PE program was significantly cut back in 6th grade (our middle school is grades 6-8). One PE teacher was let go, and rather than rehire, the 6th grade teachers now teach PE two days a week. None of us have any training in PE whatsoever.

This year, we are paying $200+ out of pocket per month for our medical insurance.

For next year, the district initially and informally proposed a 5% pay cut and 9 furlough days (amounting to another 5% cut). Their first written proposal, however, is a 10% pay cut and no furlough days. In addition, the rising costs of medical insurance will mean we will be paying another $400 a month out of pocket ($6000 a year).

After school tutoring and Saturday detention have been cancelled.
Fellow educators, how goes it with you?

It’s really not settled at this point for us. The proposals we’re looking at include:
-No pay raises at all (cost of living or seniority) for the third year in a row.
-Assistance with achieving National Board certification is gone forever.
-We may lose most assistance outside of kindergarten.
-Charter schools will expand (this isn’t a money-saving measure, quite the opposite, but it’s a favorite of the Republican legislature); they’ll be eligible to share district funds for transportation and free/reduced lunch regardless of whether they provide these services.
-No textbooks.
-The few cities in the state that have their own school district separate from their county’s will be merged; this is universally against the wishes of both the city and the county districts.
-We’ll start paying a modest amount ($15/month) for health insurance.
-Possibly the pay supplements for National Boards and master’s degrees will be dropped. Since I’ve paid out of pocket for my national board certification and spent the last year sweating blood to get the certification done, as part of my long-term career and financial plan, this is the one that hits me the hardest.

We’ll see what actually happens.

High School. 5 days lopped off the school year. Co-curricular stipends chopped across the board. Step and column freeze. Golden Handshake that got 38 people to retire this year. Our share of health insurance will go up next year as well.

So far, nothing is settled: state budget won’t come out until May, and the district doesn’t know if it is going to be a $150 million cut or a $250 million cut.

So far, they’ve given a 7%/annual salary incentive for people to quit. That was huge and pushed tons of people to retire a year or two early.

Operational budgets have been cut 20%, but it was already so small that almost doesn’t matter. But we will be buying most of our own supplies next year.

They’ve gotten rid of our collaborative period, so that we will be teaching 7/8 or 6/7. Smart money is that classes will average over 30, so that’s student loads of 180-210.

No word on health insurance. It’s already insane here, though: I pay $500/month for two people, and that’s the crappy version: $1500/person deductible and only 80% covered after that. When we add a baby in the fall, that goes up to $800 currently. I have no idea what it will actually be.

They are talking about canceling “stipends”, but I don’t know which ones. On one hand, I can’t see them canceling coaching stipends, but on the other hand, if I lose my Academic Decathlon money and the coaches don’t take a hit, I am going to be pretty pissed.

We are also getting a new state-wide standardized test, so when there is a dramatic drop in test scores they will scream “apples and oranges and lazy teachers” and we won’t see the drastic effect all this will have on teaching.

My sister had her job cut straight-up. This is a bad time to be a teacher, but an even more badder time to be a music teacher.

We did “fail to renew” everyone on a probationary contract (i.e., first year teachers). I forgot about that, I am ashamed to say.

I teach at a community college in Texas. So far, we’ve had to give back about 15% of last year’s and this year’s money to the state. We won’t know what other cuts are going to make it through the legislature, but the current House Bill cuts our health insurance by 82%. The college is mandated to provide it for us, so if the current H.B. passes, we’d have to deny access to a couple of thousand students in order for the college to cover us. There are 2 ideas right now: tap into the ‘rainy day’ fund for it, or shift $150 million from formula funding to health insurance. There’s no telling. Right now, the state pays 100% of my insurance and 50% of my wife’s. They may end up dropping all dependent coverage…who knows. Right now, they are auditing us to make sure we don’t have any ineligible dependents on our coverage.

Tuition and fees for the students are going up, again, for the fall. Out-of-district students will take a bigger hit than in-district. They want to raise the tax rate in our service area. There’s a cap on that, but we’re something like 5% under the cap now.

We’ve outsourced all of our custodians and groundskeeping staff. There seems to be a de facto hiring freeze. Our early childhood center + daycare is raising rates, and they’ve let their cook and a teacher go. I’m pretty sure we won’t get any cost-of-living salary increases.

We’re weathering the storm, but if it gets much worse, I’m not sure what will happen. The current H.B. zeroes out 4 or 5 community colleges entirely. My dean has done a good job–he’s cut things like travel and technology, and so far that’s saved the division from RIFing anyone.