Friday, August 06, 2010

More stimulus money for teachers heading this way?

Politico's David Rogers is reporting that the US Senate passed a $26 billion spending bill... and that Nancy Pelosi has recalled all House members to Washington from the August campaigning recess to vote on this bill. But what will the bill do?

It's intended to pay the salaries of teachers and police:

In the case of the school aid, the Education Department estimates that as many as 145,000 teaching positions could be saved with the added funds

And if you assume that Cheshire's 30,000 residents is about 1/10,000 of America's 300 million people... then maybe Cheshire will get funding for 14.5 teachers? Yeah, right. That money won't come to Cheshire, but I'm guessing some of that money -- maybe for four or five teachers -- will be heading here... just not sure when.

Considering though that Speaker Pelosi called back her members to Washington, it wouldn't surprise me if this is fast-tracked for distribution to local BOEs. And that could happen if Obama signs it next week with immediate delivery to Governors... and the spending bill provides explicit authorization for Governors to act without legislative oversight.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, including how House members facing tough reelections vote. I include both our Chris Murphy and Fairfield County's Jim Himes in that category.

Adding to the drama will be the Tuesday GOP primaries in both the CT-4 and CT-5. If Murph and Himes both support this measure on Tuesday, I'm confident their GOP opponents will be mentioning it in their victory speeches.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Tim, I'm not sure what you think is such a negative about federal money used to fund local teaching positions. You say Himes and Murphy will be hurt by supporting this. Is that because there's not enough money coming to CT in the bill? Is it that you don't think the federal government should send any money to the states? Obviously, CT sends much more money to Washington then it gets back. We subsidize the very existences of many states that receive the bulk of their revenue from the federal government -- most of them, of course, are Southern Red states whose Congresspeople rail against the federal government while they have their hands out taking the dollars that keep their schools open and roads passable etc.

So, why do you think this bill is a loser for Himes and Murphy?

tim white said...

Where did I say this would "hurt" either of them? I just agree with today's headline in Politico:

State aid bill a gamble for Dems

It may help or hurt either of them in November. I don't know.

One small thing that hurts the Dem majority though is that Speaker Pelosi is getting this done in a haphazard manner after everyone left for August recess. And while I'm not too concerned about that, some members will look pretty dumb saying this is for teaching jobs as school has already started in some places... so how do you add classroom teachers after school started? My sister's kids in Orlando will start next week. How does a Superintendent handle that? If I were a Sptd, I'd probably be happy for more money but more-than-annoyed with the ridiculous timing. Even in Cheshire... what if the money is headed here and all town officials support it... but coincidentally have summer vacation plans for the last two weeks of August? What if the Sptd is taking vacation in August? I mean, this makes everyone in Washington look pretty disorganized IMO... and what changed in the past few weeks that makes it possible now, but not in mid-July?

If Congress members vote in favor of this, yet don't get teachers in place by the beginning of school... how happy will parents be with that? Who will want their kids switching teachers after a couple weeks? Is that fair to anyone?

Frankly, this is unfair to anyone involved in planning for the school year. Maybe everything works out fine in CT, but it's still poor planning in Washington.

Anonymous said...

"If Murph and Himes both support this measure on Tuesday, I'm confident their GOP opponents will be mentioning it in their victory speeches."

I took that to mean you thought their support could be used against them -- and therefore would hurt them.

Ok, understood that it's more of a timing issue than criticism over federal funding coming to local communities.

You agree CT needs to start getting it's fair share and stop subsidizing Southern and some Western states, right?

tim white said...

I know that Nutmeggers get the short end of the stick as a net donor state... same as Cheshire is with CT. I'd rather see spending cuts to net recipient states / municipalities though, rather than increased spending by the state & fed.

Anonymous said...

Late support is better than no support.

If adding a teacher can reduce the teacher/student ratio at any point than it is a good idea. Lower ratios can increase facetime with students

The bill is also giving aid to police departments. Our own force has lost 4 officers to date with 2 more leaving in the very near future. We are going to need help to get 6 more officers on the road

Anonymous said...

So who are the 6 officers who left or are leaving?

Anonymous said...

Deegan, Kehoss, Rizzo, Cruess, Marchand and I cannot remember the rest. Cruess and Marchand are leaving in the next 2 months

Anonymous said...

good we wish they would all leave they are a waste. all they did was line their pockets with taxpayer money they do not need to be replaced.

Tony Perugini said...

"Yeah, right. That money won't come to Cheshire, but I'm guessing some of that money -- maybe for four or five teachers -- will be heading here... just not sure when."

Tim, I'd be surprised if Cheshire gets any of this money. Keep in mind that CT has been and continues to use Federal stimulus money to make up for it's own shortfall in funding education. I suspect that if more money came in it would be allocated elsewhere by Hartford. But being optimistic, if we received money to fund 3-4 teaching positions, even if only for 12 months, I'd welcome it.

But...this short-term borrowing is only putting off the inevitable and doesn't address the long-term problem the feds have created by setting education mandates that cannot be adequately funded, among other items.

So I guess my point is...don't hold your breath on this. It's not a silver bullet by any means and is only a diversion tactic, at best. Looking forward to our 2011-2012 education budget discussion soon. :-)

Tony Perugini

Anonymous said...

good we wish they would all leave they are a waste. all they did was line their pockets with taxpayer money they do not need to be replaced - nice retort, and intelligent too........

Anonymous said...

With declining population rates, population-tagged positions (like police, fire, and especially teachers) must be examined. It is sad to lose a job, but these positions and their SUSTAINABILITY are the subjects to be reviewed. Fed aid to keep them alive is only a temporary PC "fix" at best-- if we don't need the teachers because there simply aren't as many students, they should go. We need to stop appeasing these unions and avoiding the harder choices, as difficult as it may be to tell someone that their job is no longer required. It is ignoring the sustainability of all these costs that is partially responsible for our public spending and tax-based woes.

breachway said...

I am not for it. I think we need to review the current contract process/tenure/getting rid of dead wood, etc. This is another easy way out instead of confronting the real problem of the teachers union having the towns stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Anonymous said...

"they do not need to be replaced" - shouldnt you be wottying about the Kansas Police by now.

Cindy said...

this is cindy MR 5:39 AND-no i should not be worrying about the kansas police BY NOW OR EVER. I have going out there for 30 years and no problems you know why smart mouth? because they have better things to do with their time then drive up and down the street waiting to see if i would drive my car. I obey the law.

Anonymous said...

"With declining population rates, population-tagged positions (like police, fire, and especially teachers) must be examined."

Im not going to comment on teachers because I feel that they had the chance to save their collegues jobs but refused to do so.

We need to maintain the level of staff at the PD to provide the level of protection that this town needs. If only 1 or 2 officers left, I would not worry about filling their posts right away, but with 7 slots, we are looking at a financial nightmare. Each of those positions will require almost a year of OT being paid for coverage. 7 less officers is a huge loss when you only have 48 to start with. Police services will be on a decline until replacements are hired and trained.

Concerning the Fire Dept, we have an all volunteer department and should be proud of them. Members of our community working together to protect the lives and assets of their neighbors on a voluntary basis is something that helps keep our tax base from doubling or even tripling. I am of the opinion that whatever they need to continue preventing people from being paid to do should be considered.

Anonymous said...

An infusion of Fed money only delays the day of reckoning. There needs to be a major restructuring of education from K to graduate school...especially for public schools. Doing the same thing year after year with more money thrown in from a different level of government is flat out stupid. The Feds are broke......we are printing funny money and being propped up by foreign buyers of our Treasury bills. Connecticut is broke......we just need a new governor who will tell the truth after November election. So after Pelosi/Obama/Murphy shovel more "education aid" at us (assuming some will trickle down to Cheshire), what do we do NEXT year? Will we have another round of yelling and screaming about "cuts"?.....of course. Because there will be no more stimulus money from the 2009 stimulus and no more "emergency money" like the bill going through Congress now. Spring of 2011is when the bottom falls out here in Connecticut.
Everyone who knows the inside story KNOWS this. My question is: what is the school administration doing to get Cheshire ready? Last I heard the BOE and Florio had taken the summer off and nothing of any consequence is being done. Hello? Only three months before the Supt starts working on his budget that he sends to the BOE in January. What has changed? Or is he counting on hysterical parents to stampede the Council into making up for the state and Fed shortfalls(which everyone knows are coming) with local taxes?

Anonymous said...

4:08pm...did you come up with all that while enjoying the summer breezes?