Not much to say today. I seem to have said all I needed to say on the phone. Day of five uncomfortable conversations, all back to back. (Number four delivered at high volume as person on other end had a wonky cell phone. Damn, I love yelling about my personal travails while strolling through the house and discovering that all the windows are open.) By the time number five clicked in, I was already teary.
Let's just say that wine is a good thing.
But then I worry when I depend upon wine. Except that it's only one glass. Surely that's not dependence? One glass twice a week? But then I'm using the wine to calm me down? Oh shut the fuck up already.
Especially as I notice that I still need to make up my bed, and I still need to make the pie crusts, and, oh look, I'm supposed to bring a "beach-themed" snack to my daughter's kindergarten tomorrow, and I still need to make the plum and peach pie for Neo's History teacher that I was going to make yesterday.
What the hell is a beach-themed snack? Raw fish dusted in sand? Salt water? Raw hot dogs? (I actually have some of those.)
For tomorrow's IEP meeting regarding my son, I started working on a timeline of everything that's happened this year. How fucking depressing is that? And I realize that I have causes for lawsuits for at least four different incidents this year. Jesus.
Had a long talk (at volume) with the Board member to whom I speak least. ("with whom I speak least"? "speak to least"? Fucking wine.) Interesting that he considers me a friend outside of the board, but somehow I've not been picking up the phone and talking to him. Weird.
We've had this ongoing crap regarding negotiations. Some Board members want to give as hefty a raise as we can to the teachers (and then to the rest of the staff). Although I sit on the negotiation team, I actually voted against our last offer, because I feel as if it's too high. Oh, now there's a popular position.
But then the administrators brought forward the programs that they feel are necessary for the district, and guess what? We can't afford both. AND I still have issues in Special Education that I want addressed which will cost additional monies. (Things like training for Gen Ed teachers and recruiting TRAINED aides instead of mommies.)
My Board member on the phone tonight agreed with me that the teachers are being a touch greedy here, especially in light of the fact that they won't accept any of our language proposals (non-monetary, things like extending the Staff Meeting times). So he says, "We should just start pulling stuff off. OK, you don't want 6? OK, now it's 5, and so on until they settle."
"Yeah. Good idea, except that you can't do that."
"Yes you can. Take it or leave it. Settle now or watch the offer go down. They should be kissing your butt that you're in that room wasting all your time with them."
"It's called regressive bargaining. There's a law against it in Collective Bargaining Agreements. Once it's on the table, it stays on the table. We can't pull anything off; either we stand where we are and go to impasse, or we offer them more."
"Damn. Well they should just settle then."
Head desk. Head desk. Head desk.
"Care to join me in the room and convince them of that? Cause our team ain't getting nowhere. And by the way, there's no way on God's Green Earth that we are EVER going to be able to pay these guys enough for everything that they do. Never. But not everything that makes their lives easier is about salary. Suppose you have a kid in your class who's got bad behavior.
"Suppose that kid qualifies for Special Ed. Suppose that kid ends up with a Special Purpose Aide, someone who shadows him so that there's another adult available in case his behavior gets out of line. Do you, as a teacher, want that kid working with a part-time employee who gets no benefits and who gets minimum wage? Do you want that kid to go through three or four people in a year? Or at the Secondary level, get a different aide depending on what period it is or what day of the week it is? That aide is the one adult who is going to make your life easier for teaching the rest of the class. You want to rely on someone who got rejected by McDonald's? Maybe the District should pay those aides more so that the TEACHERS can have a calmer classroom. That's got nothing to do with their salary, and it's not an issue that the Board will even discuss, let alone take action on."
"Whoa. I'm surprised that more parents don't offer to pay these aides under the table to double their salary or something." (Which is where I choked on my water, because at one point we did offer one aide "that we'd keep him in meat" if he'd decide against quitting.)
So, essentially, I think I convinced him that we can't increase our offer to the teachers, and he offered to push forward a proposal to start a Special Education task force. (Good idea, that.) His point is that there should be pressure coming from the district to assess gen ed teachers on how well they work with IEPs, modifications, etc. If they have problems implementing those ideas, then perhaps this is not the district for them. Not to fire them, but to create pressure on the entire system to get *every one's* head out of the sand. This guy's good, I have to give him that.
But I'm sorta done with talking on the phone. Gotta go make pie crusts.