100 less students = 5 less teachers

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:23 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:andysinnh


I'd love to see the ratios from back in the 60's or 70's or 80's and compare to today. I'm betting they're pretty close.


I think you're wrong about this one. Anyone who attended Merrimack schools during that time will tell you that 25-30 students per classroom was the norm. Go back and look at class photos and see what I mean.

Well, considering I went to schools in Merrimack back then, I'm seeing similar in-class sizing now to back then on an average basis. Remember that the "ratio" that Dennis is quoting is an average ratio across all grades, including middle school and high school where the dynamics are different than an elementrary class size. Elementary class sizes are over 20 these days - in some cases 25 - not too much different than elementary schools back then.... That's why I say the "ratio" isn't something you can equate to a district-wide class size - since that logic falls apart after the elementary level....

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Dennis King » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:35 pm

It may come as a surprise to you Andy, but I used to be a Special Ed teacher so yes, I do know of prep time (it was a time during the 6 hour day when another aide watched the class!). I did not continue as pay was lousy then, not today, not but far.

My FACTS are the states standard statistics. It clearly shows we are top heavy with teachers who are not teaching students and yes I get the .5 but if you look at the analysis, there is also a .3, it was my attempt at humor.

Sorry Andy but I do fondly recall the 180 day a year life style. You can blow all the smoke you want but the fact is, once a teacher has taught for a couple of years, he/she has all the lesson plans all set and the only changes needed are due to the "new anything-next best thing" that comes along.

Nope, summers off, home by 3 PM,, all those holiday off, a retirement to kill for, the tops in medical benefits, a job for life, and of course, the equivalent of nearly ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ANNUAL SALARY, well pretty sweet in my book.

Time to make changes, time to cut teachers and yes programs lest me have no town left. Needs vs wants and higher productivity all around. The real world has long had to adapt to this and it is high time our teachers and allied staff come into the real world too. It is just wrong for teachers to be making more than twice the average wage of the taxpayers supporting them let along the retirement package that is guaranteed no matter how much of our life savings were lost, darn it, make sure those town workers get their full salary the rest of their lives even if they are not working anymore. Why did we let this go on so long,,, we must take matters into our own hands. At a minimum, the SB should flat line the budget by cutting out 2 million from the school budget.
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:38 pm

andy

Well, considering I went to schools in Merrimack back then, I'm seeing similar in-class sizing now to back then on an average basis.


So did my 5 siblings. Two graduated from Merrimack High School in the early 70s and the others went to Reeds Ferry. So I think I have a clue as well. You seem to have an excuse for every possible idea about cutting costs. We need drastic cuts. There are 6 houses for sale in my neighborhood. They aren't moving unless they have to. Some have taken a huge loss just to get out from under the mortgage and taxes.
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:30 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:andy

Well, considering I went to schools in Merrimack back then, I'm seeing similar in-class sizing now to back then on an average basis.


So did my 5 siblings. Two graduated from Merrimack High School in the early 70s and the others went to Reeds Ferry. So I think I have a clue as well. You seem to have an excuse for every possible idea about cutting costs. We need drastic cuts. There are 6 houses for sale in my neighborhood. They aren't moving unless they have to. Some have taken a huge loss just to get out from under the mortgage and taxes.

No - you miss MY point. These statistics are not something that can be used as justification to cut teachers, as "ratios" in general mean nothing. You need to look at the dynamics of each school to see wehre there are opportunities to reduce because enrollment justifies - not just because of a high-level statistic. If you look carefully, cuts were made in that way last year to teacher headcount. Selectively where it made sense. And I fully expect to hear from the administration where opportunities exist this year. So the ratio arguement at a general level means nothing unless the demographics support it. There are other determining factors when making potential cuts to get the budget down - such as looking at programs that might get impacted because there's not enough money, etc.

Just because I won't support these random arguements, some here think that I don't support cuts at all. Quite the opposite - I support looking at all sorts of ways of saving - including reductions in headcount if ultimately necessary as determined by the situation. But you have to do it intelligently rather than randomly based on "statistics".

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:37 pm

Dennis King wrote:It may come as a surprise to you Andy, but I used to be a Special Ed teacher so yes, I do know of prep time (it was a time during the 6 hour day when another aide watched the class!). I did not continue as pay was lousy then, not today, not but far.

My FACTS are the states standard statistics. It clearly shows we are top heavy with teachers who are not teaching students and yes I get the .5 but if you look at the analysis, there is also a .3, it was my attempt at humor.

Sorry Andy but I do fondly recall the 180 day a year life style. You can blow all the smoke you want but the fact is, once a teacher has taught for a couple of years, he/she has all the lesson plans all set and the only changes needed are due to the "new anything-next best thing" that comes along.

Nope, summers off, home by 3 PM,, all those holiday off, a retirement to kill for, the tops in medical benefits, a job for life, and of course, the equivalent of nearly ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ANNUAL SALARY, well pretty sweet in my book.

Time to make changes, time to cut teachers and yes programs lest me have no town left. Needs vs wants and higher productivity all around. The real world has long had to adapt to this and it is high time our teachers and allied staff come into the real world too. It is just wrong for teachers to be making more than twice the average wage of the taxpayers supporting them let along the retirement package that is guaranteed no matter how much of our life savings were lost, darn it, make sure those town workers get their full salary the rest of their lives even if they are not working anymore. Why did we let this go on so long,,, we must take matters into our own hands. At a minimum, the SB should flat line the budget by cutting out 2 million from the school budget.

Dennis - I won't respond to you any more since you appear to be the defacto expert here. But I have only one comment. If you in fact were a teacher with:
Nope, summers off, home by 3 PM,, all those holiday off, a retirement to kill for, the tops in medical benefits, a job for life, and of course, the equivalent of nearly ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ANNUAL SALARY, well pretty sweet in my book.

Then why did you leave the profession? :shock:

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Ron Davies » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:35 pm

Dennis,

I have to say that if you had all your summers off, was home by 3pm every day and basically did nothing, no wonder you don't teach anymore! I sit here night after night and watch my wife come home past 5pm every night, we eat dinner then she does homework correcting papers, doing lesson plans, progress reports, report cards , etc until about 9pm every night. So don't sit there indicating every teacher out there has all the bad habits you had!!
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Linda Nickerson » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:37 pm

Ron (and Andy),

That's the same way I remember my mother who was a Third Grade teacher......she worked many, many hours over a standard school day as she didn't have ANY help in the classroom so she actually had to TEACH during a normal school day (wonder how Dennis' students parents felt about him turning over his students to an aide so he could get out the door at 3???). All the rest of the work including but not limited to: lesson plans, grading papers, conferencing with parents, faculty meetings, CONTINUED EDUCATION (on HER dime...), etc, was done BEFORE or AFTER the students were gone. As many of my relatives are active teachers at pretty much every grade level (even some "Special Ed" ones in the mix...), not much has changed. They still work many hours over a standard school day......
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Ken Coleman » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:00 am

The ratio published is Not how many children in a classroom. It is the ratio of the number of people in the district with teaching certification divided by the number of children. Special Ed Teachers, Administrators, Specialist, Guidance Councilors, and others are all in that number.

The front of the budget book published by the School District each year has a detailed list of the ACTUAL Class sizes. They are much larger than the ratio given.

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Michael Thompson » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:25 am

I need to jump in here regarding the lazy teacher comment. If it wasn't for my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Heinz staying EVERY day after school in the spring to work with me for 2 hours a day I would have been in a lot of trouble. Thankfully for her going above and beyond I succeeded in a very hard time of my life.

As for the 100K comment, the fact is Dennis they don't make 100K. This is like saying that you got a 2500 christmas bonus on top of your normal 50K base and your annualized income is 80K. A lot of teachers I know (without kids) do have jobs in the summer, the majority work in summer camps that pay maybe 1,500 for the summer.

Dennis, who you like to have operate on you when you have a surgery? The best right?
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Dennis King » Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:07 pm

Michael,
Your bonus analysis is not correct. If you look at my analysis, I simply factored the hourly wage and then multiplied it to a 40 hour worker who works 50 weeks a year. Now if you add the cost of their benefits, the average teacher cost us (taxpayers) well over a hundred thousand dollars each.

Now I am glad your teacher gave you 2 hours a day of her time, that is great. I did a lot of volunteering as a teacher too. I chaperoned the school dances and did all the decorating, I ran the school yearbook and newspaper, I also did many field trips and because it was a private school, I also drove the school bus. Oh, and on the way to/from school, I also dropped off 5 kids using my own car. Each of the teachers did this as we only rented a school bus for field trips, otherwise, it was our cars or other parents. We also went camping overnight and on weekends. I also did tutoring and yes, I made some money with those who could pay (I think it was $7/hour) and tutored others for free. I did all this when I was in a private school and left because there was just no money in it and of course no benefits. It was sad but we did more innovative things at that school than I ever saw tried in the public area.

I also had worked in the public school and saw a much different attitude among the teachers, they were self limited to "their jobs" and made it clear when they thought they were being asked to do something beyond "their jobs". They were always out as soon as the bell rang and sorry to say, they just did not seem to care. I am not saying they did not do their jobs but they were just doing their jobs and nothing more. Sad to say, the teachers at the private school made half of what they made and were working twice as hard.

(I wonder how different it would be if the parents did not first have to pay taxes for schools they were not using)

A good analogy of the different between private and public is my experience with my son. In kindergarten, he had an issue in class. I got a note from his teacher that day and she called me at home to explain the issue. She also invited me to the school the next day to meet with her and the principal to review the issue and discuss resolutions. We met over a cup of tea and I was pleased with the plan they already drafted to address the problem.

Fast forward one year, I needed to contact the principal to address the class placement of my son. I was put on hold for over 20 minutes and then hung up. The second time I was grilled as to WHY I needed to talk to the principal, I felt this was demeaning but complied and explained the issue in detail and why the principal and only the principal could handle this. I was assigned a guidance counselor (one of the most useless people I ever had to work with). I had to leave a voice mail for her and after waiting a week, I called again and again asked for the principal as the school year was moving along and I wanted my son in another class. Well I was told she was much to busy to be talking to parents and was assured the guidance counselor would take care of this and call me. I again protested that the issue was a personnel issue and only the principal could handle it but was rebuffed. Three days later the guidance counselor called me and invited me in. I met with her and got the run around, more testing, denial that the issue was of importance, and when I still insisted, she finally said, "well only the principal handles that". Welcome to the public sector!

I am not saying public teachers are bad but the bureaucracy sure needs fixing. When you look at the ratios, Ken is right, it includes more than teachers but that is my point. We really need to look at all those allied professionals. Now a school psychologist I can understand for kids with adjustment issues but the guidance counselors, well, my experience with them is all bad. They made the wrong choices and blamed the student rather than test to find out if there was any issues. Oh great by 11th grade and only with my constant insistence that he was not "lazy", they agreed to test him and the results proved I was correct. No great victory here, Just as with first grade, any progress I made was because I had to fight the system to give my son a proper education. Now 11 years of teachers and "guidance" counselors calling you lazy has made an impact and I thank God that now he is in college, he is now the A student I knew he could be all along. I say, let the teachers do the scheduling for the next year, let's remove most of these "guidance" counselors.

Oh, another story on "guidance" counselors. I had a "mandatory meeting" with my guidance counselor back in High School. It was supposed to be about career planning and college selection. I already had a career goal and was accepted into SUNY at Stony Brook which at the time required a SAT of 1300 or better, a High school average of 92 or better and you had to be in the top 20 percent of your class or better. I was well passed all those benchmarks and was accepted. My guidance counselor also noted that I was accepted a community college with required only a passing grade and a breathing student to get in. Instead of congratulating me on getting into one of the toughest schools in the state, she talked about the benefits of 2 and 4 year colleges. I left shaking my head and laughing under my breath with amusement as I left her office.

I also recall my son complaining that the guidance counselors were "looking for something to do" (his words) and they wanted him to give up one of his free periods to talk to them about the rules in High School (he read the pamphlet and felt it insulted his intelligence to "discuss" was was already clear.

So for cuts, first place I would cut is the guidance counselors, just wait, all those defenders will come out, can't get rid of any union jobs!

Wake up, people are losing their homes, food pantries can not keep up with demand, these taxes are too high and we need to make hard choices. We have 100 less students to teach, that should mean 5 less teachers and for my money, 5 less "guidance" counselors
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby RD » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:04 pm

The title of this thread should be, "100 fewer students = 5 fewer teachers." Perhaps that is a reflection of the premise of the thread itself.
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby spnorm » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:03 am

FWIW - I have a child in the school system with some emotional adjustment issues. Each year, and in each school, we started out by having a friendly meeting with the guidance counselors and teachers to make them aware of the situation. The response and support from the guidance counselors has been fantastic and made a huge difference in our child's ability to be comfortable in school and focus on learning. Without further prompting from us, the counselors have continued to check in on the situation and follow up with teachers to see that all was well. They have done everything from making sure they always give a quick "Hi, how are things going" when passing in the halls, to working to remedy some uncomfortable situations that could have made school more difficult. I can say that the guidance counselors have been the difference between a stressed, distracted student and the well-adjusted, straight-A student we now have. Just one family's experience but for us, the counselors have been caring and proactive, and worth their weight in gold.
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:44 am

As ye sew, so shall ye reap.
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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby andysinnh » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:51 am

Hey, Dennis - from the Nashua Telegraph article on the first-pass of the budget at the district level, comes this:

Chiafery’s proposed budget represents a reduction of nine full-time staff positions, which are being cut because of a projected decline in school enrollment, the superintendent said. The cuts include three from the food services staff. Teaching positions cut include a second-grade teacher and fourth-grade teacher at Mastricola Elementary School and a Spanish teacher at Merrimack Middle School.

Three teaching positions will be eliminated at Merrimack High School: an English teacher, a science teacher and a physical education teacher.

Also, a full-time business teacher position at the high school will be scaled back to half time, and a half-time kindergarten position added to the School District.



One can read the entire article at http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/472 ... ksome.html , and see the start of the discussion points for the budget hearings starting tomorrow night (HINT HINT - COME TO LISTEN, OR WATCH ON THE CABLE CHANNEL!!).

Obviously the increase of the proposed budget will be under scrutiny during the hearings and bud comm review process - but in terms of headcount, I'm curious as to whether you feel they're doing the job you expect with their proposal???? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Re: 100 less students = 5 less teachers

Postby Dennis King » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:21 am

Andy, I would call this a "good start" but why stop there? even a 1.2 percent increase is unacceptable in this economic climate. Maybe one more teacher or how about a guidance counselor or two could be eliminated. I find it interesting that teachers are the easy target since you can directly correlate it to student enrollment but as I noted previously, our student ratio at 12.1 is one of the lowest in the area, that includes all staff and not just teachers. As the global numbers decline, I can not understand how we could not simply get rid of one of the guidance counselors. Everyone is working harder but it seems these other staff members have an easier job with less numbers of students when the real world is being asked to do the work of 3 people.

Oh the crossing guards, I am surprised there was no discussion on using students. I recall they assigned this to a student who lived near the school. The person would show up on time and was allowed to be late since they had to cover the corner until the bell rang. It was an honor to wear the sash & white gloves and the system worked well. Each student had an alternate in case he/she was sick. It worked well in the day and I think it should at least be looked into, $22,000 in savings, not bad and a lesson in civics, priceless.

The roof is needed so I will vote for that. I think the cost of the roof and the 1.2 increase should be factored by the budget committee so we can have a LEVEL budget with no cuts. This will mean more staff cuts. I would suggest cutting 3 guidance counselors, one in elementary, one in middle, and one in high school. The remaining guidance counselors can pick up the slack. I challenge the budget committee to bring us a truly level funded budget and just gave you the way it can be done with minimal change in services.
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