Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At What Cost?

Well, the judge ruled today that in order to return to the classroom, a librarian would have had to teach in said classroom as recently as the '06-07 school year. So all that running around I did because we thought the word preceding might actually mean preceding was for nothin'. Dang.
So now my only hope is to get a hearing and testify. The rumor is that the judge will probably make decisions on individual cases, not on librarians as a group. No hearing, no decision, no job.

Of course, then there's the other side of the coin. Let's say I get a hearing and my RIF is rescinded. That would mean I could continue to work for LAUSD as a Teacher Librarian, right? What happens when there are only fifty schools funding librarian positions, but more than a hundred librarians seeking those positions? What happens is, I'm out of a job. There are a good 70 librarians in the district with more seniority, so I wouldn't have a chance. And because of the recency rule, I couldn't go back to a classroom either, so....

Things look bad.

Still, I shall try to get a hearing and I will try to get my RIF rescinded. Perhaps Governor Brown will make good on that $3 billion dollar IOU and we'll all get rescinded. Then these hearings will have been beside the point, which makes me wonder how much they are costing the district in the first place, cause it must be a lot. Is this another one of those expenditures that isn't truly necessary in the end? Wouldn't that just be the kicker?

Some things the district is paying for in order to prosecute its employees include (note: multiply each of these daily expenses by 27 days as you mentally calculate):

  • rental of the Exhibit Hall at the California Market Center
  • furniture rental: chairs, tables, table skirts
  • court reporter's fee
  • court reporter's fee to work after hours to write summary reports for LAUSD officials
  • five armed security guards, 2 in the courtroom and 3 at the entrance, to screen teachers as they walk through a metal detector, to search their bags, and to protect the judge
  • rent for the other spaces (other floors? some say two whole floors!) of the California Market Center that are being used by LAUSD staff to draw up personnel files on all of the employees taking the stand
  • wages for those LAUSD staffers to actually do that work on the personnel files
  • lawyers' fees
  • judge's fees
Wowsa. That's a lotta clams.
Listen, I'm glad we live in a world where people can't always just get fired flat out with no explanation and no recourse. I'm glad we get to have the chance to make our cases and show that were are qualified. I'm glad these hearings might just save lots and lots of great teachers from leaving the profession altogether. Yet when I look around that massive, empty exhibit hall and think about all the waste, I just get steamed. Are there no school auditoriums that could have been used? Are there no empty offices at the Beaudry building? Do we need to have FIVE security guards at the hearings, three of them manning an entrance that maybe two dozen people come through each day? Did the tables really need skirts?

I wonder how many kids in the district could have been given book to take home for keeps for the cost of renting that Exhibit Hall. Or how many of our school's Million Word Readers could have been given a gift card to a real bookstore (I had an 8th grade boy tell me today that he's never been to a bookstore in his life). I'll bet the cost of that room rental is nearly enough to pay one teacher's salary and benefits for another school year, but whatever, that teacher probably wasn't any good anyway.


An Observer Of Souls said...

I wish I could help, for the children, who might learn from this that books and reading are not important.

Becky said...

I'm so sorry for all that you're going through. We're also dealing with our library media program being cut in Salem, Oregon. I'm thinking good thoughts for you!