Although GOP leaders claim that public school employees were winners in the 2014-15 budget fight, the “fine print” indicates that they were overall losers. Approximately 3,300 teacher assistants will lose their jobs when funding is cut by $105 million. Many experienced teachers will lose their longevity pay and receive less than a 2 percent salary increase. Although it has been almost 10 years since new textbooks were purchased, the book allowance for the entire state will be $1 million, only 60 cents per student.
Even more devastating is the elimination of an 80-year-old law that automatically provides additional funding for the annual enrollment growth in school systems – a possible “back-door” way to increase class sizes. A GOP House leader said that he wasn’t concerned with this policy shift and then added, “I have never seen so much squealing about getting more money.”
Of course, his supporters (budget winners) do not have to squeal because funding for private school vouchers was increased by $840,000. The cap limit for charter schools was increased significantly even though the salaries and bonuses for certain managers and administrators will not be publicized.
Let’s make sure that General Assembly leaders are squealing and howling in November when they realize that their election year gimmicks didn’t work.