Today we received confirmation of the biggest helping of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) in recent memory. Thanks to the impending (growing IMHO) recession, we received email from our superintendenet today which included the following:
“Today I met with our Principals and District Office Administration to discuss the impact of Governor Schwarzenegger*s proposed budget, which was announced last week. The Governor has proposed sweeping cuts, most severely effecting education. Due to the fact that education comprises the largest portion of the state budget, it is the hardest hit when it comes to budget cuts.
What this means to our school district is that we must reduce a minimum of $819,000 from our current budget, and a minimum of $10,000,000 in 2008/09. Inevitably this will impact our schools, our classrooms, our programs, our teachers, our staff, and most importantly our students.
Today I announced to our Administration that the following actions will be effective immediately: Hiring freeze for all positions Purchasing freeze for all items other than basic classroom supplies and health or safety essentials No travel or conference expenditures which have not already been paid for No classroom substitutes for professional development or curriculum development Freeze on *one-time* 2007/08 money from the state
No funding of field trips or assemblies from the General Fund or Categorical dollars Reduce costs where possible such as conserving utilities”
My heart goes out to our (2 years new) superintendent who has thus far done a tremendous job in a difficult position, and who has been supportive of me personally with regards to Second Life and my professional growth. She had planned a new position for a technology lead and six trainers in the district (we now have none), and that clearly can’t happen; as a result, I have volunteered personal time to help with tech at the district level in any way I can. Also, I have been told that every administrator in the district will be pink-slipped. How is it that the state of California, which has the fourth largest economy in the world, can get itself in such an outrageous financial bind? Not only do we have a huge economy, we are 43rd in per student spending in the country. WHY WHY WHY???
What does this have to do with Second Life? Well, my first professional presentations ever are about Second Life, first at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs in March which my site was going to pay for, and then again at NECC in San Antonio where my airfare was to be paid by the district (I will be covering the rest). Additionally, I was asked to present to the Gifted Student Council and the School Board in hopes of piloting an eighth grade program for the next school year.
So where does that leave me? Up in the air I guess. I will try to use air mileage from my husband to get to San Antonio in June, and will have to use sick days and pay the $800.00+ for the four night hotel stay in Palm Springs in March. This after having paid entirely out of pocket to attend NECC last year in Atlanta.
“Hey brother, can you spare a dime?” takes on a whole new meaning in light of what’s happening to our economy right now. Based on what the DOW did this morning, and Yahoo’s rumored cutting of 700-1400 jobs, I’m inclined to think we’re heading into a depression rather than a recession -at least in the state of California.
The most pathetic part of the whole thing? The kids lose -again 😦