Letters to the Editor

07/11 What You’re Saying: Allison Mahaley, and Louis Bennett

On the backs of teacher assistants

In this year’s budget, the Orange County Schools requested much more funding than last year claiming that the budget shortfall due to loss of impact fees and under-enrollment was creating a deficit. The county commissioners were blindsided by the drastic increase requested and did not meet the requested amount. According the statement from OCS, “The $222 per pupil deficit leaves the district facing a $1.6 million budget shortfall for the 2018-2019 school year.”

So what did the board decide to do? Of course, they adjusted their budget to balance it. First up, Teacher Assistants: “Beginning July 1, 2018, Teacher Assistants will work on an adjusted calendar schedule. Rather than reducing the number of Teacher Assistants, the number of days on their work calendar will be reduced. Traditional and Year Round calendar Teacher Assistants will be moving to a 201work day calendar. Currently, the Teacher workday calendar is 215 days, which includes 14 Teacher Workdays. This change alone will net a $250,000 savings to the local budget, and it will save Teacher Assistant positions.”

One quarter of a million dollars saved by cutting the pay for the lowest-paid people on staff – those who can afford the pay cut the least. What’s more, the ratio of teaching assistants who are African-American versus white is much higher than licensed staff. Instead of looking to how a 2 percent to 3 percent pay cut to central office staff might balance the budget (by the way, Central Office staff were all given substantial raises this past year), the decision-makers followed the trend of most corporate models to shaft the lower wrung framing it as “you should be happy we didn’t eliminate your job.”

Shame on you Orange County Schools! You should be looking to use teacher assistant positions are a recruiting tool and teacher pipeline for the future of our district, not cutting their already low pay. The election has brought in some new blood, and I hope the new board adjusts the school system’s priorities to recognize the HUGE contribution teacher assistants make, not just to our youngest and most fragile students, but the teachers with whom they serve.

Allison Mahaley


How these statues came to be

Regarding the guest column by Heather Redding "Southerners, whites benefited from slavery, whether they owned slaves or not" July 7):

Explaining the case against these monuments that celebrate the hateful history of our nation is obvious. The Confederacy fought for their right to own other people; terrible. After the Civil War they tried to rewrite and romanticize their story by elevating such monuments; Terrbile. Leaving them up in such prominent locations to this day: TERRIBLE.

Those who support the status quo only try to minimize the horror of slavery, and the evil that went on in the antebellum South. Glossing over or ignoring the sickness that continued during the Jim Crow era, when the call for white supremacy came around even louder, was how these statues came to be.

Enough is enough. Get ’em out of here.

Louis Bennett

via www.heraldsun.com

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