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September 2008

Fun Times at Dallas ISD - Yet Again

I've been with Dallas ISD for 18 years.  I tried to hire on as an emergency certified teacher right before they had a RIF at the beginning of the school year.  I went on to get certified traditionally through Texas Woman's University.  By the way, I'm certified in both CS and Math because I want the job stability of teaching math.  Plus back in the old days, I actually taught a class called Computer Math.  Still have a couple of copies of the textbook.

I think we had another RIF at the beginning of the school year a few years after I hired, but I don't know for sure.

But the main reason I went into teaching was to avoid layoffs. I went through a bunch of RIFs at all three of the corporations I worked at before teaching.  Never fun.

I've been through other fun times -- superintendent who misspent money and went to jail for it.  P-Card scandal.  Contractors stealing from us.  It's been fun.

So the latest?  Last year the district over spent by $64 million dollars and if they don't stop it, the over spending will hit $84 million.

The problem?  They over hired by over 1000 employees.  That's 5% of the district employees.

Here's what I've been told so far:

Our school is two teachers short according to student head count.  So we're in good shape.  Superintendent wants to RIF according to school and department.

However, the "union" wants them to rank the teachers and RIF according to rank.  Meaning that all Algebra I teachers would be ranked, etc.  I probably wouldn't be RIFed, as I would be in the top 3 CS teachers (number two by seniority, not sure how the TAG teacher would be ranked with the two senior general high school teachers, which is why I'm ranking us together).  The good news, is that we still had an opening at the TAG school last I heard. 

TEA is threatening to step in and they haven't said how they would do the RIF.

Frankly, I think someone should be going to jail, this has certainly had more repercussions than buying tacky bedroom furniture did.

And I think if I do get RIFed, I'll go quietly and figure out how to teach CS online -- which I've done before.

The worst part, is that they knew about this problem back in May, and it would have been much less painful for everyone if they had dealt with it then.

Dallas ISD announces $64M budget shortfall | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News


The Dallas school district has discovered that it’s short about $64 million from last year’s budget and will have to reach into its reserve fund, which will dip dangerously low.

Dallas ISD announces $64M budget shortfall | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News


It's been really good working with the Finance department over the past year -- let's see, they didn't pay for an AP Workshop I took even though I filled out the paperwork to get the district reimbursed by the state.

They haven't paid me for a course I taught.

And I'm betting we don't get new computers in my lab this year.

Too bad I'm 7 years from retirement.

Why is it okay to interrupt a class?

I started out the day with the librarian trying to talk to me at the beginning of first period about not being able to print, even though she had a ticket out.

The one of the other teachers wanted to know which European country produces the most/best chocolate at the beginning of second period.

Both of these professional adults were doing this AFTER the bell rang.  Okay, first was while.

I am really protective of my students time, especially since we lost two days last week, and the AP kids lost 2 weeks total since the start of school was moved, but the tests are on the same day.

Plus taking attendance and giving instructions during the first few minutes REALLY helps on classroom disclipine -- and right now, I have a whole room of students on task.


Herding Cats -- Also known as the fingerprinting process

One of my duties as teacher tech is to be of technical assistance through the fingerprinting process. 

The state legislature finally decided that we had too many convicted felons working as teachers, especially they want to get rid of the sex offenders.  At least that's what I hope.

So we all have to be fingerprinted.

Fun process.  First, everyone has to make sure their SBEC profile is correct.  Have had teachers who have had the wrong birthdate on the teaching certificate FOREVER, use 4 different permutations of their name, and quite a few who have never changed their names on the certificates to match their driver's license.

We're supposed to get emails tomorrow, though we got the schedule today.  I'm predicting that our district email system is going to blow a gasket.  Hopefully I'm wrong.

Last, twenty four hours before the actual event, we're supposed to print something called a FastPass.

Oh, and during the event, I'm supposed to make sure that the fingerprinters have internet access etc.  So tomorrow I'm going to drag my tech support class downstairs with my laptops and check that.  (All of two students so far).

Oh, and everyone keeps jumping the gun on the Fastpass and freaking out.  My main job on this is walk people through the process and make them keep breathing.