The Duval County school board voted on the behest of the superintendent, 4-3, at a special meeting to break the contract with teachers in order to reduce or eliminate teacher’s raises. They claimed financial urgency, a move, which caught the union and at least three board members off guard.
Speaking of financial urgency, last week they approved a 28 million dollar renovation project at Lee high school that many people think is more of a luxury than a necessity. A pretty penny, which strangely enough is more than a third of what it cost to build all of Atlantic Coast high, that price tag was 78 million dollars. Earlier this year the administration also spent a million dollars on new cars and annually spends millions on the Schultz center which duplicates many functions that could be performed just as well at schools. This is quite a bit of money for a county facing “financial urgency” to be throwing around.
To me this isn’t about stopping teachers from getting raises, which would be about 6/10 or one percent of the budget and to be honest, unless you have been teaching for 22 years are very paltry. This is more about the administration exercising their authority and sending teachers a message that they are the boss and teachers will like it or lump it.
Ironically, because the district has nearly gutted discipline, this is the same message they won’t allow me to send to my students.
When I see the seemingly random way our school board does things I am reminded of an old quote: ”First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards.” -Mark Twain