‘Last hired, first fired’ strikes again

A story in Saturday’s Bloomington Herald-Times (subscription required) provides an example of the kind of thing that gives teachers’ unions and public schools a bad name.

It’s about Scott Wallace, a science teacher in the Monroe County Community School Corp. who was selected as 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year by the Air Force Association but lost his job with the MCCSC because of budget cuts. Wallace was placed deep on the district’s reduction-in-force list as a result of the strict seniority system – “last hired, first fired” – enshrined by the MCCSC’s contract with the local teachers’ union, the Monroe County Education Association.

The MCCSC board voted in April to put 73 teachers on the RIF list, which meant they could be laid off for the 2010-11 school year.

Dozens were called back over the summer. They included Batchelor Middle School’s Jackie Macal, one of six “outstanding Hoosier educators” honored at a Statehouse ceremony in May, Continue reading

School funding flexibility: One step forward, one step back

It turns out that Indiana’s new school funding flexibility law is providing only half a loaf for the Monroe County Community School Corp. Half a loaf may be better than none, but it’s not nearly enough.

And increasing MCCSC payments for employee insurance costs are taking a big bite out of that half-loaf.

Last weekend, I posted a story here that said the MCCSC should be able to transfer 10 percent of the local property tax levy from its capital projects fund to the general fund, to help cover teacher salaries and other personnel expenses. I was wrong.

The contract approved last week by the school board and the Monroe County Education Association met two of the criteria for a 10-percent capital-projects transfer: It froze teacher salaries at their 2009-10 level and capped “increment” raises at 2 percent.

But it didn’t meet the third requirement of the funding flexibility measure that the state legislature passed this spring: that the school corporation could not increase its proportional contribution to employee insurance premiums. Continue reading