Fluvanna Schools Eliminate 33 Positio...

Fluvanna Schools Eliminate 33 Positions for the 2013-14 Year

There are 100 comments on the NBC29 Charlottesville story from Mar 17, 2013, titled Fluvanna Schools Eliminate 33 Positions for the 2013-14 Year. In it, NBC29 Charlottesville reports that:

In an effort to meet an anticipated budget shortfall, Fluvanna County Public Schools has eliminated 33 positions for the 2013-14 school year.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at NBC29 Charlottesville.

Truth

Collinsville, VA

#22 Mar 19, 2013
If not for your Board be so blind,they let Louisa build Zion x Roads.Look for yourself nothing on that side of 250.Youll need some new people to govern you there fault.Louisa rolling Flucos dying stupid move.Wake up people clean house.Wake up
Liberalace

Collinsville, VA

#23 Mar 20, 2013
concerned wrote:
<quoted text>
What changed? Are you kidding....do you think that the cost of things today is the same as the costs in 2007?
First of all, how much of the current total per pupil expenditure is related to the cost of the new high school and its financing? You wanted it, you got it.

Secondly, where are per pupil expenditures tied to the success of the school district? I see many who spend less doing a good job (Salt Lake City) and many spending lots doing horribly (Philly, Detroit, DC, etc.).

Thirdly, teachers have not been getting raises. While they are not leading a cushy life, for years they have--as a group--sat by and accepted across the board pay increases. However, like many private sector employees, they have been foregoing raises during the tough economic times. Unlike many private sector industries (but in line with all government workers), the bad ones and mediocre ones had received the same raises as the good and great ones; and the really bad ones were even kept on, receiving raises and racking up seniority.

Wanna know how it works in real life? The bosses allocate a set amount for pay increases. Middle-managers are given a pool from which they can allocate increases based on merit and performance. From that pool, the excellents receive a higher amount, the goods a lower raise, and the mediocre nothing. The poor performers get replaced.

So, now teachers, let's go back to your elementary statistics and look at the bell curve. Out of all the teachers in Fluvanna, most perform in that middle area of the curve, a small percentage at the right end and some at the left end. Does it make sense that the ones on the right end get the same pay increase as the ones on the left?

Why is Keller asking for a 2% increase in teachers' salaries? Shouldn't the ones at the right end of the performance curve be getting 4-5% and the ones in the middle 1.5% and the ones to the left nothing?

The problem for this fiasco cannot be laid at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama or the hack Tim Kaine. It lies squarely with the old Boards of Supervisors and the old School Boards. It was the old BOS who slid through the idiotic high school while for years blocking development of the Crossroads area in the name of "rural preservation." Now there is no business base of any kind in this county, population growth has slowed, and we are crying poormouth. Thank the BOS members from the 1995 to 2010 the next time you see them plowing them thar fields. As for the previous school boards (and, it seems,the current one), they simply do what school boards like to do: play god, collect money, help out pals with contracts and work, and do it all in the name of "the kids."

R.I.P.: Thurman Munson
Jane

Charlottesville, VA

#24 Mar 20, 2013
You noticed there no cuts in the Board of Supervisors or the School Boards.
Hmmmmm

Harrisonburg, VA

#25 Mar 20, 2013
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
...Unlike many private sector industries (but in line with all government workers), the bad ones and mediocre ones had received the same raises as the good and great ones; and the really bad ones were even kept on, receiving raises and racking up seniority.
Wanna know how it works in real life? The bosses allocate a set amount for pay increases. Middle-managers are given a pool from which they can allocate increases based on merit and performance. From that pool, the excellents receive a higher amount, the goods a lower raise, and the mediocre nothing. The poor performers get replaced.
...
What a nice, "in-theory" textbook picture of the world this presents. Its typical of what things like "common-sense" produce. Its also weird for people to set up a "private" vs. "public" picture and call private the "real world."

What the entire "merit pay" picture avoids entirely is how, exactly, people get evaluated for their "excellence." In the "real" real world actual evaluation of people is wildly complex and whether public or private, more often than not comes down to the whim of those who hold the purse strings. This is especially true for excellence in teaching. Frankly, that means lots and lots of different kinds of things. In the state of VA it will eventually boil down to student SOL performance. Yet, SOL-based teaching and evaluation presents the heights of mediocrity itself - the death of learning (DOL) exams from the point of view of anyone who gives a damn about actual education.

Whether public or private, the nice "in theory" simplistic picture of rewarding excellence and punishing failure, more often than not amounts to exalting mediocrity in the "real" real world.
clockwork

Ventura, CA

#26 Mar 20, 2013
Uh, you're blaming the wrong people. State law prohibits them giving some teachers big raises and others small raises (except in VERY limited Merit Pay experiments). In theory, math and science teachers should get paid more and PE teachers less based on law of supply and demand, but STATE law prohibits that (again with some very minor exceptions). All the local government can do, really, is offer a raise of the pay scale. If you want teacher salaries to be based on supply and demand or merit, you need to address that at the state level.
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
First of all, how much of the current total per pupil expenditure is related to the cost of the new high school and its financing? You wanted it, you got it.
Secondly, where are per pupil expenditures tied to the success of the school district? I see many who spend less doing a good job (Salt Lake City) and many spending lots doing horribly (Philly, Detroit, DC, etc.).
Thirdly, teachers have not been getting raises. While they are not leading a cushy life, for years they have--as a group--sat by and accepted across the board pay increases. However, like many private sector employees, they have been foregoing raises during the tough economic times. Unlike many private sector industries (but in line with all government workers), the bad ones and mediocre ones had received the same raises as the good and great ones; and the really bad ones were even kept on, receiving raises and racking up seniority.
Wanna know how it works in real life? The bosses allocate a set amount for pay increases. Middle-managers are given a pool from which they can allocate increases based on merit and performance. From that pool, the excellents receive a higher amount, the goods a lower raise, and the mediocre nothing. The poor performers get replaced.
So, now teachers, let's go back to your elementary statistics and look at the bell curve. Out of all the teachers in Fluvanna, most perform in that middle area of the curve, a small percentage at the right end and some at the left end. Does it make sense that the ones on the right end get the same pay increase as the ones on the left?
Why is Keller asking for a 2% increase in teachers' salaries? Shouldn't the ones at the right end of the performance curve be getting 4-5% and the ones in the middle 1.5% and the ones to the left nothing?
The problem for this fiasco cannot be laid at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama or the hack Tim Kaine. It lies squarely with the old Boards of Supervisors and the old School Boards. It was the old BOS who slid through the idiotic high school while for years blocking development of the Crossroads area in the name of "rural preservation." Now there is no business base of any kind in this county, population growth has slowed, and we are crying poormouth. Thank the BOS members from the 1995 to 2010 the next time you see them plowing them thar fields. As for the previous school boards (and, it seems,the current one), they simply do what school boards like to do: play god, collect money, help out pals with contracts and work, and do it all in the name of "the kids."
R.I.P.: Thurman Munson
Liberalace

Collinsville, VA

#27 Mar 20, 2013
Hmmmmm wrote:
<quoted text>
What a nice, "in-theory" textbook picture of the world this presents. Its typical of what things like "common-sense" produce. Its also weird for people to set up a "private" vs. "public" picture and call private the "real world."
What the entire "merit pay" picture avoids entirely is how, exactly, people get evaluated for their "excellence." In the "real" real world actual evaluation of people is wildly complex and whether public or private, more often than not comes down to the whim of those who hold the purse strings. This is especially true for excellence in teaching. Frankly, that means lots and lots of different kinds of things. In the state of VA it will eventually boil down to student SOL performance. Yet, SOL-based teaching and evaluation presents the heights of mediocrity itself - the death of learning (DOL) exams from the point of view of anyone who gives a damn about actual education.
Whether public or private, the nice "in theory" simplistic picture of rewarding excellence and punishing failure, more often than not amounts to exalting mediocrity in the "real" real world.
So it is too difficult to assess performance and reward accordingly? While it is state law to not pay teachers based on supply/demand or performance metrics, I do not see teachers who like to clamor at the capitol building when layoffs are proposed clamoring for more equitable pay arrangements (like pay for performance).

It is ironic that the same people who regularly eschew rewarding excellence among their own do, on a daily basis, reward excellence and punish mediocrity through something called "grading." And to say performance comes down to "the whim of those who hold the purse strings," you fail to recognize that the majority of appraisers are middle managers who really hold no purse strings and, if they operated strictly on nepotism or favoritism in hiring and firing, would ultimately undermine their own departments.

All of the brilliant minds with graduate degrees (including PhDs) over the years still lament that "it is too complex to devise a system for rewarding the good teachers and sacking the bad ones." Teachers continue to operate in an environment where budget cuts are made and a superb teacher with a five year tenure gets sacked in favor of a poor teacher with twelve years in.

And if rewarding excellence and eliminating poor performance exalts such mediocrity, how come the industries that do not subscribe to that performance appraisal formula perform so much better than those who protect based on "seniority"?

Poor performers: union auto manufacturers, union roofing and trades, public schools, DMV, government-run hospitals (go into a veterans hospital and then a private hospital), postal service.

To imply that an employer cannot weed out poor and mediocre performers because the evaluation process is too complex implies all employees--all performers, in fact--should just be allowed to operate without accountability...a true liberal mantra if I ever heard one!

R.I.P.: Stephen Covey
County Resident

Raleigh, NC

#28 Mar 20, 2013
publican wrote:
they should not give one dollar of tax money to these schools, parents should have to pay for their own children to go to school and for the roads and buses to get there! taxes should only be used for wars and deporting illegals.
Ha, ha, ha!!
Siezure Salad

Palmyra, VA

#29 Mar 20, 2013
Dear Beth... welcome to the rest of the working world. These statements about what teachers have faced in the last few years can be applied to the average working man/woman as well. Just because you're a public servant doesn't mean you're insulated from the economy. I'm glad they're feeling a little of the pain the rest of us are feeling.
Beth wrote:
<quoted text>
That's just false. Teachers used to get yearly step increases before the recession. Fluvanna's teachers have had no step increase in 3 years, have had their insurance costs increase as the system changed providers, and then had to cover the state-mandated increase to VRS themselves. Teachers are making significantly less now than they did pre-recession. We have increased expectations placed on us, decreased compensation, are beholden to the whims and decisions of politicians who have never actually taught in a classroom, and then get accused of being manipulative and greedy. Do you really want your children educated by people who are stressed and scraping by?
Don't blame the teachers. They have nothing to do with any of these decisions, and administrators, board members, and supervisors almost always ignore teachers' ideas and desires. Why hasn't anyone stated the obvious--that gigantic, unnecessarily modern,über extravagant new high school on rt. 53? If tax payers want to see how tax dollars are wasted by schools, take a tour of that facility some time.
Hmmmmm

Harrisonburg, VA

#30 Mar 20, 2013
Siezure Salad wrote:
Dear Beth... welcome to the rest of the working world. These statements about what teachers have faced in the last few years can be applied to the average working man/woman as well. Just because you're a public servant doesn't mean you're insulated from the economy. I'm glad they're feeling a little of the pain the rest of us are feeling.
<quoted text>
Beth's statement was merely a correction to someone else's obviously false statement. There was no attempt to claim some special status. If you'd like to whine about your own position then do it. Beth wasn't whining. She was defending against a completely incorrect assessment. there's a huge difference.
County Resident

Raleigh, NC

#31 Mar 20, 2013
Teacher Welfare wrote:
<quoted text>
All lies!
Teachers get 5-12% pay raises every year. The 33 job losses is just another teacher trick to increase this years raises. The board of supervisors needs to fight this!
"The 33 job losses ARE just another......." , "..increase this YEAR'S raises." Someone was not paying attention in class. Don't complain about teachers.
Hmmmmm

Harrisonburg, VA

#32 Mar 20, 2013
This is just adding more oversimplification on top of the ones you put out there to begin with.
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
...
It is ironic that the same people who regularly eschew rewarding excellence among their own do, on a daily basis, reward excellence and punish mediocrity through something called "grading."
...
Yes - and the "grading" - as every teacher knows - varies in its ability to be precise and accurate because of the variability in assignments. Frequently the objectives of assignments are quite clear and precise and thus grading is possible. What counts as good "teaching" and how one measures it is a large can of worms. Your comparison is apples and buildings.
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
And to say performance comes down to "the whim of those who hold the purse strings," you fail to recognize that the majority of appraisers are middle managers who really hold no purse strings and, if they operated strictly on nepotism or favoritism in hiring and firing, would ultimately undermine their own departments.
If - as you initially said - pay raises are ties to middle manager evaluation, then the middle managers do hold the purse strings. Furthermore, the notion that operating by favoritism or nepotism will be performance death for a unit is basically naive. Its a nice statement about how one might WANT the world to work. But the reality of corporate life is frequently very different. This kind of statement also ignores the complications involved in how various kinds of goals get set and evaluated and how communications of performance in that regard are shaped. More often than not, there is no view from nowhere by which these things can be objectively determined. They are constructed, sculpted and finessed.
- Admittedly this is a variable. In some kinds of arenas goals & performance are relatively clear and easy to establish. This applies well for things like sweeping floors and making cheeseburgers.
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
All of the brilliant minds with graduate degrees (including PhDs) over the years still lament that "it is too complex to devise a system for rewarding the good teachers and sacking the bad ones." Teachers continue to operate in an environment where budget cuts are made and a superb teacher with a five year tenure gets sacked in favor of a poor teacher with twelve years in.
And if rewarding excellence and eliminating poor performance exalts such mediocrity, how come the industries that do not subscribe to that performance appraisal formula perform so much better than those who protect based on "seniority"?
Poor performers: union auto manufacturers, union roofing and trades, public schools, DMV, government-run hospitals (go into a veterans hospital and then a private hospital), postal service.
To imply that an employer cannot weed out poor and mediocre performers because the evaluation process is too complex implies all employees--all performers, in fact--should just be allowed to operate without accountability...a true liberal mantra if I ever heard one!
This is just full of your own unfounded impressions about all sorts of things. I can't pick apart every vague reference yo make to things that exist primarily in your own anecdotally-built impression of the world. But yes - what it actually means to be an effective teacher is very complex. "Teaching" is a complex concept and to pretend otherwise is to wish to be in a world that is as simple as the one in your head. In the context of the state of VA any actual "excellence" criteria will boil down to student SOL performance. Its what bureaucratic accountability does - it reduces life to "scores." Making sure that your teaching leads to good SOL scores produces a strong emphasis on mediocrity.

Look - I get the fact that you cling to merit as an ideal organizing principle for work. I'm just saying - as an ideal it is and will remain mythical.
Greene Liberal

Stanardsville, VA

#33 Mar 20, 2013
Teacher Welfare wrote:
<quoted text>
All lies!
Teachers get 5-12% pay raises every year. The 33 job losses is just another teacher trick to increase this years raises. The board of supervisors needs to fight this!
You have no idea what you're talking about. Your statement is not factual at all. Teachers in Greene have not had a raise in years. Where are teachers getting 12% raises each year?
Taught for years

Crozet, VA

#34 Mar 20, 2013
Liberalace wrote:
<quoted text>
First of all, how much of the current total per pupil expenditure is related to the cost of the new high school and its financing? You wanted it, you got it.
Secondly, where are per pupil expenditures tied to the success of the school district? I see many who spend less doing a good job (Salt Lake City) and many spending lots doing horribly (Philly, Detroit, DC, etc.).
Thirdly, teachers have not been getting raises. While they are not leading a cushy life, for years they have--as a group--sat by and accepted across the board pay increases. However, like many private sector employees, they have been foregoing raises during the tough economic times. Unlike many private sector industries (but in line with all government workers), the bad ones and mediocre ones had received the same raises as the good and great ones; and the really bad ones were even kept on, receiving raises and racking up seniority.
Wanna know how it works in real life? The bosses allocate a set amount for pay increases. Middle-managers are given a pool from which they can allocate increases based on merit and performance. From that pool, the excellents receive a higher amount, the goods a lower raise, and the mediocre nothing. The poor performers get replaced.
So, now teachers, let's go back to your elementary statistics and look at the bell curve. Out of all the teachers in Fluvanna, most perform in that middle area of the curve, a small percentage at the right end and some at the left end. Does it make sense that the ones on the right end get the same pay increase as the ones on the left?
Why is Keller asking for a 2% increase in teachers' salaries? Shouldn't the ones at the right end of the performance curve be getting 4-5% and the ones in the middle 1.5% and the ones to the left nothing?
The problem for this fiasco cannot be laid at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama or the hack Tim Kaine. It lies squarely with the old Boards of Supervisors and the old School Boards. It was the old BOS who slid through the idiotic high school while for years blocking development of the Crossroads area in the name of "rural preservation." Now there is no business base of any kind in this county, population growth has slowed, and we are crying poormouth. Thank the BOS members from the 1995 to 2010 the next time you see them plowing them thar fields. As for the previous school boards (and, it seems,the current one), they simply do what school boards like to do: play god, collect money, help out pals with contracts and work, and do it all in the name of "the kids."
R.I.P.: Thurman Munson
How do you propose to rate the individual teacher's performance? Test scores? Would you (the teacher)be able to get a raise when you can't "fire" your poor performers? Schools don't work on the business model, because you don't have the ability to choose your "customers" (parents), or your work force (students). It just doesn't work. And I bet none of you would be willing to pin your job on your underlings without being able to "fire them". BTW, ask retail managers how well the work force is qualified.
mcttj

Crozet, VA

#35 Mar 20, 2013
Annie P wrote:
The spending levels and per-pupil expenditures for Fluvanna in FY2013 match nearly the same figures for Fluvanna in FY2007.
Per Pupil FY2007 $9,251
Per Pupil FY2013 $9,249
Operating Budget FY2007: 33,881,908
Operating Budget FY2013: 34,783,002
The FY2007 figures come from the Virginia Department of Education Archives. The FY2013 figures come from the Fluvanna County Public Schools numbers (SB docs for March 2013).
Why were the FCPS able to operate without a crisis situation in 2007 but is in a crisis situation in 2013 when the per pupil expenditure is almost exactly the same and the operating expenses are $900,000 more now than they were in FY2007?
What changed?
The difference is unfunded new high school; and no tax base to fund it!
mcttj

Crozet, VA

#36 Mar 20, 2013
County Resident wrote:
<quoted text>
"The 33 job losses ARE just another......." , "..increase this YEAR'S raises." Someone was not paying attention in class. Don't complain about teachers.
I taught at FCHS for five years and loved it; but the lack of resources and no end in sight wore me down. I am now in another district and the differences are stark...more support, more involved community, etc. I just wanted to add that I made less when I left Fluvanna than when I started teaching there.
Exactly

Palmyra, VA

#37 Mar 20, 2013
mcttj wrote:
<quoted text> The difference is unfunded new high school; and no tax base to fund it!
You're right. So THANK YOU to the OLD BOS and OLD SB who voted for this. 5 million in debt per year extra. Think if we had built a HS half the size/luxury, what we'd be able to put into our schools.

In fact, if you take what the taxpayer puts out for the school, plus the (taxpayer funded) debt service for the high school, plus the items in the school CIP (paid for the taxpayer), the schools are actually now receiving more of the taxpayer money than any other time in Fluvanna history.(the prior sb/bos did not have a CIP for the schools, nor the huge debt)

All that money going in to new building and more rehab planned for old buildings (Abrams)....imagine if it was going into the classroom. Even half of it extra.

The school board really needs to reevaluate how the spend their money. They want it all, but money is finite.
Greene Liberal

Stanardsville, VA

#38 Mar 20, 2013
The future of this country is in jeopardy because of the lack of funding for public education. We'll be paying for this in the end and we have the penny pinching (except for the military), education hating repubs to blame. Public education should be this country's first priority. We should never have to be reduced to cutting our children's education. This is embarrassing!!
real central Va Marine

Crozet, VA

#39 Mar 20, 2013
Greene Liberal wrote:
The future of this country is in jeopardy because of the lack of funding for public education. We'll be paying for this in the end and we have the penny pinching (except for the military), education hating repubs to blame. Public education should be this country's first priority. We should never have to be reduced to cutting our children's education. This is embarrassing!!
How did the "education hating repubs" manage it when the dems held the white house and the senate for the last 4 years plus? It's not about which party is to blame, it is about WHO, namely your reps in DC and Richmond. Vote them out and someone else in. I dare you. Replace every R with a D or I , and every D with an R or I.
Liberalace

Collinsville, VA

#40 Mar 20, 2013
So what I am hearing is that once a teacher is hired, there is no performance-based methodology for rewarding the good ones and getting rid of the bad ones. It is "too complex" a job to which to tie metrics or objective evaluations.

This merely reinforces the need for school vouchers. Just as you have no choice to "fire your bad performers" (i.e., students), I have no choice but to send my child to a "business" that admits it cannot weed out poor performers because of the complexity of their job duties. I have no choice but to pay for bad performance whereas, if I go to a restaurant, I can refuse to return. Then why are you afraid to let me take my education business--and money--elsewhere?

Hmmmm...The concept that it is "naive" to think middle managers who hold purse strings to review employees' performances will review them on merit and not on favoritism is itself a product of the classic liberal "hate big business" position. It is also a great excuse to keep government agencies (public schools included) immune from accountability for job performance. Fact is, the majority of management in companies wants good performers on their teams and will review fairly. So called cronyism is more widespread in public sector employment than it is in private firms. And at least private firms can cite a strong record of fiscal and operational success.

Retail managers know full well that the workforce is poorly qualified. May we take a survey of retail employees and see which ones came from public school educations and which ones came from private schools? Then analyze their work performance?

As for "Hmmmm" and his/her posts about the corporate world, I have been there. The notion that it works mainly on nepotism and cronyism is even more cynical than I think. You cite my "vague references" but then fill your responses with vagueries like "but what it means to be an effective teacher is very complex" and "how various goals are set." Well, if you can tell me what it means to be an effective teacher, then you can also cite me the ineffective ones, right? And if you do not know what it means to be an effective teacher, how can you opine that it is "complex"?

Finally, teachers make up a pretty vocal group (Fluco Education Association) in the county. I did not see them en masse at BOS meetings and SB meetings when a new high school was being pushed to protest a new high school.

R.I.P.: Peter Best
Orange County

Bealeton, VA

#41 Mar 20, 2013
Every school system has trouble with their budget every year! Why do we always hear about Fluvanna County--and Fluvanna County ONLY??? Does NBC 29 have a connection there? In case you have been ignoring the national news, there is a budget crisis in Congress, as well!

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