We know that all things must change. Nothing in education can or should stay the same. That has become my reality in my field and in my career in education.
When I came back from my Christmas break a few days ago, we got an email that we would be having a restructuring of our school district for the school year 2011-12. I can tell you that not all are happy about this change. We have known for sometime that our district was loosing students to other more attractive area districts. Now that loss of students has put us in the current state. We will be going through 3 phases. Phase 1: to restructure our buildings; Phase 2: buy out of staff contracts; and phase 3 is RIF (reduction in force). We have to cut 3.8 million dollars from our budget. Now I know that I probably won’t be in phase 3, and I am too young to take a buyout from phase 2, I will however be effected by phase 1. Which will be the topic of this post.
My wife and I teach in the same school district that we attended K-12 as a children, and my our children attend this district today. We have a lot invested in the district. I believe in my district, and I support what they do for the district as a whole. I feel like, we can’t let what has been happening in the past continue. At the same time, it is hard to see my friends and colleague bicker about the change, and about the uncertainties of the future. Most know that phase 2 and 3 will not effect them. It’s the fact that they will have to move, as I will most likely to another building and work with another staff. Before I go any further let me give you a quick overview of phase 1.
- Combine the Arts Magnet to form k-8 Arts Magnet building
- Take one of the small high schools at our highschool out of the building and create a 5-12 Technology Academy
- Make one 7th-8th grade Middle School and one 5th-6th grade Middle School.
- One elementary district will be split into two and shared between 2 other elementary buildings (this is to make room for the k-8 Arts Magnet)
- Spread out administrative and secretarial positions throughout the district
So as you can see this move isn’t just teachers. It’s from the superintendent to the custodial staff. Everyone will be affected. I am not sure how my program, the Gifted Program, will be effected. I know that my program wasn’t cut, and for that I am thankful. So we are going to have to be creative and make our program in to the 21st century. For that, I am excited. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Gifted Program. I know that it will have to be better than what it is. I feel that way about most of the changes our district is exploring.
What I am sad about is the fact that many of my friends and colleague will either retire or experience the RIF. A lot of good teachers will be out of a job. I know in our area jobs will be scarce. I am sure that most of the country is facing that same dilemma. Some parts of change are hard and full of unpleasant reality. I understand that most districts in Ohio and around the country are not getting as much funding as they have in the past and changes need to be made. There is only so much funding to be passed around, and we need to streamline education.
I know that I will have to come back to this topic and discuss some more. As of this post, our school board is still gathering input of the phases listed below. They will vote on it sometime on February 2011. I will keep you updated.
Is anyone else going through anything like this? If so I would love to hear from you. How is your staff dealing with such changes?