Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A Worthy Fight

This Treasurer of the school job has taken a twist I never expected. I just assumed I’d learn this stupid PeachPit2000 software, plug the numbers in, make deposits, pay bills, attend a once a month board meeting (last night) giving them the monthly budget, the end. But then our school was destroyed in Frances and anything we had salvaged was destroyed in Jeanne, including our cafeteria, and my job has taken a whole new twist. I am now forecaster and bearer of bad news.

So as we’ve had to cancel our various fundraisers and buckle down… I’ve been running the numbers, and I’ve been looking ahead into next school year as to what type of deep doo doo we could be in. And I’m really not liking what I’m seeing. And I fully realized as the picture was before me, that is was 100% my responsibility to give everyone the religion because nobody looks at numbers like an analyst. Every single person in the room would look at the numbers and say, “Oh that’s nice. Next!”

My big issue is teacher’s bonuses. Now my husband keeps saying to me, “We all understand the definition of bonuses. The money has to be there.” He is right of course, but when you have a group of people working as daggum hard as our teachers, it just makes you sick to think you can do nothing. Our teachers are now working from three different campuses as our school is no longer. We found places for our kids to go to school, with staggered starts, but that is tough for the teachers. Some are driving much greater distances. They are working Saturdays for their teacher meetings as they can no longer do them before school. They’re working later into the day now that some of them don’t even start school until 9:15. They’re doing all their teacher planning on weekends as all our teacher planning days are now being used to make up school. Sure, we have hurricane days, like y’all in the Great White North have snow days, but we don’t have THAT many. I’m talking 9 days we have to make up.

So the teachers are busting their butts, making this transition for our children seamless, still giving them the education we expected, and we don’t have the cash to give them what they deserve since all fundraisers have been postponed. And I’m sick about it.

I don’t go into meetings and present problems without solutions. I gave them three thoughts: split the bonus in half, half at Christmas when it is usually given and half at the end of the school year with hopes we’ll have a fundraiser to fund them, borrow from the church and repay, or (and I can’t believe this came out of my mouth) ask the parish priest to pay for it. As big as day, I stood before the board and said, “I have no problems sitting down with Father and laying it all out to him. We need help.” And with that, the President said she will come with me and with hat in hand, I am going to ask a man for a very large sum of money. And probably get shot down.

I’m brushing up on my diplomacy skills. He doesn’t come back until next week (he’s been gone since 1 Sept, so he hasn’t even seen the vast destruction), so we’re waiting 2 weeks for it all to sink in and we’re in the process of putting together our action plan… figuring out the best way to state our case and persuade him that this is extraordinarily worthy and not frivolous. It should be interesting. My plan is to ask for the world and be happy with half.

I don’t know. It’s tough. It was tough to stand there and tell everyone how bad it all is and how bad it’s going to get. And it was tougher on my heart when one of the teacher representatives stood up and said, “We’re teachers. We know how to cinch a belt tight. We’re all cutting way back. Don’t you dare borrow money for our bonuses. We know we’re appreciated and times are tough. YOU DO what needs to be done for the school and we’ll be fine.” And I could feel my throat close off as I choked back the emotion, that this woman who has foraged through her rain soaked moldy destroyed teaching materials TWICE, who is now working until 5:30 two days a week to tutor our kids in math, for free, so they aren’t lost next year, a woman who is consoling and is constantly trying to improve our transitional process… telling me she didn’t need a bonus, she was happy to know she was appreciated.

And I will fight for her money. She deserves it. They all deserve it.


Blogger Quality Weenie said...

Good Teachers kick ass!

I know everyone can remember that one teacher who influnced your life, there is always one. One who made your life go in a different direction than you thought and might not even realized it.

Mine, my High School History teacher. A man who really loved teaching and it showed.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

I can't imagine what you are all going through down there. I've always thought our teachers are underappreciated. Thank you so much for sharing.

4:40 PM  

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