Teacher who watched Obama sign bill is laid off

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by bugscoe, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. TPS teacher who watched Obama sign bill is laid off
    Board not using $7.6M share to rehire workers
    Oct 15, 2010
    By CHRISTOPHER D. KIRKPATRICK

    As Toledo Public Schools teacher Amanda VanNess stood in the Oval Office and watched President Obama sign an education stimulus bill, she already knew she'd lost her teaching job back home to budget cuts and low seniority.

    The $26 billion stimulus bill, designed to save 160,000 teacher and other government jobs across the nation, couldn't save her position at Pickett Elementary.

    In fact, Ms. VanNess has been laid off twice from TPS this year.

    TPS hasn't spent a dollar of the $7.6 million in teacher rehire money it received from the Aug. 10 bill, opting instead to save it for next school year to rehire or retain a myriad school employees - probably not teachers.

    The legislation allows the one-time money to be spent that way over the two school years.

    The hard-fought federal legislation was sold as a way for school districts to call back laid-off teachers or to save others from losing jobs. But as of Nov. 15, Ms. VanNess will be without a teaching assignment, according to TPS' human resources department.

    Ms. VanNess, 25, couldn't be reached for this story, but the irony of her situation was featured in the Wall Street Journal last week and on television and talk radio.

    The stimulus measure gave governors $10 billion in education aid to hire and retain certain local school district workers and about $16 billion to help cover increased costs for Medicaid, the state-level health-care program for the nation's poor. More people access Medicaid in hard economic times.

    The bill was stalled in Congress, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) called members back from a break in August to push it through. The legislation has become a powerful symbol in the rhetorical battle over the wisdom of stimulus spending and debate over government's proper size.

    And Ms. VanNess' job loss has become political foil for the anti-Obama right as midterm elections approach.

    To set up the bill signing in the Oval Office, the American Federation of Teachers contacted local union President Fran Lawrence and asked if she knew of a Toledo teacher who could come to Washington to stand with the President.

    Ms. Lawrence thought of Ms. VanNess because she had been notified about her job loss. Ms. Lawrence said she doesn't feel the situation is ironic because Ms. VanNess was already laid off when the stimulus bill was signed.

    The young teacher had received a letter in early July with an effective layoff date of Aug. 25.

    Ms. VanNess traveled to Washington Aug. 10, but her plane was late and she missed attending a morning press conference when the President discussed the bill, Ms. Lawrence said.

    But Ms. VanNess arrived in time to watch congressional debate about the bill, which passed on a party-line vote. Later, as she and the other visiting teachers with their guides approached the Oval Office, the door opened unexpectedly. The President emerged, reached out his hand, and said, "You must be Amanda, you were MIA this morning," said Ms. Lawrence, recounting what Ms. VanNess told her.

    Ms. VanNess, the other teachers, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan stood behind the President as he signed the bill.

    Ms. VanNess was officially laid off the day before school started, Aug. 25, about two weeks after her Washington trip.

    She fell prey to budget cuts designed to close a $39 million deficit last school year. About 400 employees, including 237 teachers, received pink slips.

    Student services were cut and bus service curtailed affecting about 5,000 students, and elimination of middle school and freshman sports.

    About 24,350 students are enrolled in TPS.

    Ms. VanNess was quickly reassigned as a second-grade permanent substitute at Reynolds Elementary School because a position opened up unexpectedly.

    But Oct. 1, she was notified again. With falling enrollment, 14 more teachers were let go, effective Nov. 15. According to the union contract, the district must continue to employ the teachers for 45 days after they are notified.

    "It's terrible," Ms. Lawrence said. "I wish they would have used some of that money not to lay off those 14 teachers because that disrupted those classrooms."

    TPS released its head count for this school year in mid-September, down more than 5 percent. Many parents pulled their children because of cuts to services.

    TPS Superintendent Jerome Pecko said the district expects a $44 million deficit next school year. He said he's scoured the wording of the federal legislation for permissible uses beyond rehiring teachers.

    As enrollment falls, the district doesn't need as many teachers, and Mr. Pecko said he must balance all needs for students. He said the district might use the money to hire its own crossing guards, instead of using an outside company, and to hire more bus drivers to restore service to where it was before last year's budget cuts
     
  2. Wasn't there another thread about those fat-cat teachers who barely work and are never laid off?
     
  3. Hello

    Hello

    The fact that teachers are getting laid off rests squarely on the back of the teachers union.

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  4. JamesL

    JamesL

    According to that American idol you loonies worship like a false god, only bankers are fat-cats. Come on, pay attention.
     
  5. So the teachers can't be laid off because of the teacher's union; and,

    The fault lies with the union that teachers are being laid off.
     
  6. The fault lies with Obama.
     
  7. Lucrum

    Lucrum

    Are you sure, I thought EVERYTHING was Bush's fault.



    Is this your distraction designed to draw attention away from the "stimulus" not saving jobs (in this case) like it was supposed/promised to?

    If so, it's not working.
     
  8. Umm, okay, so you guys are against this state and local government putting resources to where local governments feel they need it, or do you want Obama to intervene here?

    I'm having trouble keeping the Republican philosophy coherent. Come to think of it, everybody is having trouble keeping the Republican philosophy coherent, especially Republicans.
     
  9. Hello

    Hello

    Finally you got one right. The teachers union is definately to blame for their own layoffs, because they are more concerned with getting their yearly raise then they are with keeping the teachers, whom they supposedly support, working.
     
  10. Um, so teacher's unions are okay with teachers getting laid off? You previously wrote that teacher's unions were the most powerful in the country.
     
    #10     Oct 15, 2010