Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chump Change at HCPSS

Howard County may be allowing a brain drain to occur & I'm perplexed as to the reason. Yes, our new County Executive, Allan Kittleman, has asked that county leaders trim 5% of their budgets to deal with a shortfall of $14 million. Fine.

While reading Tom's post regarding the loss of experienced teachers & staff and Julia's post, something struck me regarding these numbers.

This deal is projected to cover approximately 600 teachers and staff and potentially save $9 million. OVER FIVE YEARS. Based on the FY 2015 Budget of $758.8 million, that's roughly 0.2%. These positions are not disappearing though...less experienced, less expensive people still have to be hired.

Which leads me to my next point - if our experienced teachers leave, there is a lack of mentorship that can occur on the job.

For example, if several Instructional Team lead teachers leave one elementary school, that puts a lot more stress on the administration and the less-experienced teachers left behind. There's no question that a 25 year old teacher can be just as good as a 37 year old teacher, don't misread me.  But that 37 year old teacher may have insight about that 5th grader because she taught her as a 1st grader.

These type of buyouts usually detract from institutional knowledge. Yes, it requires more people to step up, but I believe the majority of teachers and staff at HCPSS have been doing that already.  And yes, buyouts happen in the corporate world but at 15 years? Who's even been at their corporate job for 15 years in this day & age? Tenure in the corporate world is not exactly comparable to government work.

But for less than even one percent of their annual operating budget? Yes, there are some people that complain about the "junket" to China that cost under $10,000 in total. I'm not one of them. This wasted study seems like a rounding error rather than an in-depth look at holding down operating costs.

Try again, HCPSS.


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