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.
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.”
In New Jersey, where about 3,000 teachers were let go in May, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration worries that the federal aid will only forestall difficult decisions later, and it is unclear how much will be spent immediately.
“It’s a real double-edged sword,” said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor. “This money will not be there next year, and we’re not going to get back up to the funding that they had previously been used to.”
But the money - which was raised by cutting $12 billion dollars from food stamps - was meant to rehire teachers THIS YEAR.
At least, that's what Hopey/Changey said:
“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.”
But the way the law was written allows districts to use the money up until September 2012, so it sounds like educators and school staff already laid off are shit out of luck this year.
I wonder if you dig into the legislation if it turns out that districts don't even have to use the money for teachers.
Given the data fetish Obama and company have, I wouldn't be surprised to find out districts can use the dough to create data tracking systems and standardized tests.
Regardless, it doesn't look like much of the money will be used to rehire laid off teachers now.
Who knows what the money will ultimately get used for?
What is certain is that kids and parents will have their food stamps cut by $59 a month starting in 2013.
That sure is change we can believe in!
Mommy, all my teachers were laid off and I'm hungry...