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A New School Year Begins

August 30, 2011

Last year at this time, Timberlane parents and teachers were learning that TRHS was going to do away with midterms and finals. Outrage came from parents, teachers, and — surprisingly — students. Now, there are rumors that the high school is looking for a way to re-institute the Big Tests without losing face.

Last year at this time, long service teachers began receiving their lump sum bonus. This, we were assured, would save taxpayers money as long service teachers would forgo steps and raises which would lessen their cost over the contract and into retirement. Instead, many long service teachers took their lump sums to other districts. This promises to be immediately disruptive (in a school district with perpetually SINI middle and high schools) and (eventually) expensive as the short service teachers that back-fill the abandoned positions get double stepped.

Last November, Richard La Salle announced that all district employees would get raises. He said it was necessary to give meritless raises to prevent the employees from unionizing or fleeing to better jobs.  These raises, he promised, would be funded with savings on utilities and healthcare. The raises have been issued, but the healthcare savings will not materialize — they reduced the guarenteed maximum not the actual cost. We never meet the guarenteed maximum, so the savings is money that had not been spent in previous years. Gas is up for the second time this week and heating oil has not retreated all summer. Where will the money for the raises come from? In past years, books, teacher aids, and teachers were cut. Don’t expect King Richard to dismiss members of his court. He will cut spending on books, teacher aids, and teachers.

It’s been three and a half years since La Salle’s School Board sealed the minutes of a meeting for 99 years. This was done to protect the reputation of a person not a member of the governing body. On April 14, 2011, Scott Buatti was found guilty on 20 counts involving child pornography. There is no longer a reputation to protect, yet the minutes remain sealed. No matter, I suppose.  I’ve been told the sanitized minutes are little more than a list of attendees.  Looks like parents will never know if even a single school board member opposed allowing a known pedophile roam the halls and locker rooms of the middle school for fourteen months.

This year, La Salle is focused like a laser beam on winning taxpayer support for a new high school. More like a mall than a school, this structure would make TRHS a fun place for teachers and students. The cost of fun? For starters, the new school will be too far from the Performing Arts Center for students to walk to class. That’s right, the $6,000,000 Centerpiece of a Modern Education just ten years ago (and not yet paid for) will be pushed to the background so kids and teachers can play in pods and walk down colorful hallways. TRSD has done nothing to improve education, so 2012 promises another year of SINI (School In Need of Improvement) status…for the children, of course…

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