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Budgetary Issues: One-Sided Coverage
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The news here in Southern California is full this morning of the latest information about the Los Angeles School District's budget issues.

The focus is, as always, on the teachers. The district is legally obligated to inform any teacher who might be laid off in September of that possibility in March. It's a formality which has never actually come to pass for permanent teachers (those who have passed probation) in the last three decades, to my knowledge.

These teachers have not lost their jobs; the budget evaluations and restructuring are still ongoing. But to hear the media tell it, the teachers are being yanked out of classrooms and the children going crying in the streets.

Yes, times are tough, and one of the responses to the budget crisis may be that a few more children will be added to each classroom. Specialists who used to spend their days gossiping in the teachers' lunchroom will have to go back to the classroom. Everyone has to share the burden of these economic times.

What no one is saying is that teachers are an entry level position with high turnover. Seldom do probationary teachers have to wait long before re-hiring, and permanent teachers, as far as I know, have never been laid off.

The other dirty little secret is that support staff is being slashed. Hundreds have already been let go as the positions have been eliminated; there is a draft proposal for RIF (reductions in force) for 2,600 more.

But not a peep in the papers about support staff. Do they think that schools run on teachers alone? Nurses and custodians and bus drivers and food services personnel are just as vital, each in their own way. But they are touted as the "fat" in the budget.

And so they are cut, with never a whisper in the media.

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