SD 51 says goodbye to teachers; union seeks raise for next fall

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Dreams of summer fun usually take over for students and teachers right about now, with the last day of school next week. But for some, it could be a very long summer.

School District 51 is getting ready to present its proposed budget to the school board next week, and to make it, budget positions are being cut this week. The presentation is on Tuesday, and the budget won't be finalized until June. But due to budget cuts, teachers across the district are finding out this week and next whether or not their jobs will be around come the 2012-2013 school year.

School District 51 has done it before, but that doesn't mean budget cuts get any easier over time.

"Over the past three years, [budget cuts have] been $28 million," school district's Christy McGee said. "Making cuts is not an ideal place where we want to be."

This week eight middle school gym teachers across District 51 found out their jobs would not be renewed for next year.

"We elected to cut [physical education] because we could still save the program," executive director of middle schools Mary Jones said.

Currently each middle school has two P.E. teachers. Had the middle schools cut elective programs with only one teacher, they would've cut the entire program.

"Overall P.E. classes will be higher but we're hoping to absorb and divide that by six or seven electives across the board," Jones said.

These teachers won't be alone. Teachers at every level, along with classified positions and even administrative positions, are on the chopping block this week.

"We're in a place where cuts are not going to not impact the classroom," McGee said.

But for those teachers who will keep their jobs, there is something to look forward to in the fall.

"We did look as a board and as the administration here and what we could do to restore some of [the salary money that has been cut from teachers]," school board president Greg Mikolai said.

The teachers union hasn't been able to negotiate a pay raise in three years, but for the 2012-13 school year, the school board factored in a pay raise to the overall budget. This means the district will not have to cut any additional money from its dwindling budget.

"We did come to an agreement and we will ratify that agreement hopefully on Tuesday," Mikolai said.

Those tenured teachers whose positions were cut will be given the opportunity to take another job in the school district, and McGee says they will try to keep teachers in their current schools if possible. Non-tenured teachers will have opportunities to apply for other open positions.

The teachers union met with the district administration and the school board for three and a half days earlier this month to negotiate the terms of its pay raise.


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  • by Anonymous on May 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM
    I will say what no one else wants to say or what no one wants to hear. If you want a raise, if you don't like what is going on, if you are getting a raw deal, then only you can make that call, jump that fence, find another job, go to the private sector or get a government job, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Otherwise just grin and bear it, deal with it. There are plenty of public and private sector employees who share your pain in reductions in benefits, pay cuts and no raises for the last 3 to 5 years, you guys are not alone there. You would not get your summers off so you would have to weigh your options, but seriously, times are tuff all over.
    • reply
      by Guest on May 20, 2012 at 09:15 AM in reply to
      I completely agree. I am a college graduate as well. Haven't gotten a raise since the Bush admin. and am happy to have a job at this point in the economy. Maybe with all the days they get off, they can go out on a job hunt.
  • by Just saying Location: GJ on May 18, 2012 at 04:41 PM
    Judging by the spelling, punctuation, and grammar being used on this page, we should actually hire more teachers.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2012 at 09:46 PM in reply to Just saying
      Science majors don't usually spell or punctuate as well as English majors that are teachers because that is the only job someone with an English degree can get and they can be spelling and grammar nazis on a blog that no one reads save for some grand junction type backwards folks.
      • reply
        by Just saying on May 20, 2012 at 06:51 AM in reply to
        Um okay, I'm just an observant construction worker. English teachers aren't the only ones that notice awful spelling and grammar. Better get back to your Bunson burner.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM in reply to Just saying
          Perhaps you should focus on building things and not so much on the tearing down of people for improper grammar and spelling.
  • by Mama on May 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM
    I've had two children go through the district now. One graduated and one in high school. I think the early release Wednesday is just ridiculous, especially when it comes to the kindergarten students that are there for an hour and a half. Really? Also my student tells me how often his teachers are gone from class for "inservice, etc.". I really think schools are run poorly. Many other things could be done to cut costs and not teachers jobs.
  • by tuffy on May 18, 2012 at 07:50 AM
    Always remember the unbeeeleevable number of days off some teachers take. I need a day off to watch my kid play golf(soccer, BB, whatever) I need a day off to take care of a family issue, I have a headache. Seriously, most people I know that work for a living never, never take days off. Growing up I can remember a couple of times in grade school when teachers took a day off. Substitutes cost a bundle of money, plus those days are lost, very little learning takes place. .....sigh, so it goes, they never listen to the taxpayer. (ie 4 day week)
    • reply
      by SAM on May 19, 2012 at 07:26 AM in reply to tuffy
      Bureauacrats will take care of bureauacrats and the rest of us, the tax payers, will pay for it. Wouldn't it be nice if we could spend the summer having fun in the sun, but no, we will be working to pay for their fun in the sun. It would seem with all of the budget shortages that there are not enough of us working to pay for all of them, since SD51 is the largest employer.
  • by Yikes on May 18, 2012 at 07:46 AM
    Has anyone ever heard about the travel expenses of the administrators and higher ups? We fly them all over the country for meetings and training events, perhaps they could try video conferencing and save us all some big$$$$
    • reply
      by tuffy on May 18, 2012 at 07:53 AM in reply to Yikes
      Yes, and it's not just the school district. It's government all the way up to federal employees.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM in reply to Yikes
      This is also what I do and I am the private sector. It must suck that you never get to go anywhere for training or meetings, conferences, etc, I guess you will just have to be jealous until you get a job where you can travel a bit.
      • reply
        by tuffy on May 20, 2012 at 04:58 AM in reply to
        Do my tax dollars pay for your travel? You do underestand the difference between the private and public sector, right?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM in reply to tuffy
          Sorry turfy, dead end jobs suck, I feel your pain, I have been there.
        • reply
          by tuffy on May 20, 2012 at 01:54 PM in reply to tuffy
          It is odd, annonymous, that you are unsure what the conversation is about ( may I remind you it's about schools, and their budget) and come up with a non-sequiter concerning yourself and your private sector job. Reminds me of an egocentric third grader, always making sure the conversation revolves around you. Weird, really.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 20, 2012 at 02:05 PM in reply to tuffy
          I feel your pain, being angry, not able to secure decent employment opportunities, crying on some blog that10 people read, life is just really bad right now, how did you know I was in third grade?
        • reply
          by tuffy on May 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM in reply to tuffy
          Anon, Anon, Anon, you are funny...and I don't mean haha funny. Enjoy all those great trips sitting in conferences, meetings training and etc, I'll be the one waving at you from the beach....while working on my tan.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM in reply to tuffy
          Come on man, I don't have any conferences, training, meetings, etc on a boat, they are usually in buildings, so I will not even see you on the beach getting a tan, plus being a third grader, I will probably be at the Lincoln park pool swimming whilst you are tanning, feel free to wave though.
        • reply
          by tuffy on May 21, 2012 at 05:14 AM in reply to tuffy
          I see, I just assumed, with the all the bragging, that you went to conferences, meetings etal at exotic places like beach front conference centers, but obviously not. Lincoln, NE...? I'm sorry I won't be vacationing there, but again you enjoy your conferences and the swimming pool during breaks. (I'll be waving, but it'll be from the window of the 747 overhead on my way to somewhere interesting)
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 at 05:21 AM in reply to tuffy
          Just keep believing! Just keep reaching, I will bring my cart to you when you are wrangling them up in the Walmart parking lot, don't forget to wave!
        • reply
          by tuffy on May 21, 2012 at 07:31 AM in reply to tuffy
          Oh my, this is sadder then I thought. First you can't follow the conversation concerning the waste of tax payer money, bragging about your private sector job related travel. Now, come to find out, you don't have conferences in interesting places, nor even Lincoln, NE. You are having a cup o' coffee at Walmart's McDonalds with your ummm, co-workers ogling the "cart wranglers" and calling that a conference. Well, carry on, I will be waving to you from that car driving by on the way to the airport and a beach vacation.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 31, 2012 at 11:52 AM in reply to tuffy
          Make sure you tell your momma you are leaving, so she can pack your tittie whities and your sunscreen for the gay beach experience that you love so much. I will be at mcdonalds having my conference with hobos. Ha ha.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2012 at 07:22 AM
    Just remember to keep voting NO every time they want a tax increase. Always remember the 1 million they gave Mesa for a ball field, Remember the massive contribution they gave juco for a ball field. Sooner or later they will get the hint. Remember all the cars that we pay for so the administers at head shed ride around and do personal errands on our dime.
    • reply
      by Sammy on May 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM in reply to
      YES, YES, and another YES. I've heard it about the very higher up's getting their houses paid for and their vehicles. Is it true. Someone set the record straight please.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 19, 2012 at 06:17 AM in reply to Sammy
        Yes its true. When the super came the taxpayers bought him a house and he as well as all dept heads get new cars every year.
  • by Publius Location: GJ on May 18, 2012 at 06:45 AM
    Check into how much is spent on free meals for kids every day. The schools should be about educating. Leave the social support services to those agencies best equipped to deal with them.
    • reply
      by tuffy on May 18, 2012 at 07:50 AM in reply to Publius
      Nothing they can do about it, it's federally mandated.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2012 at 07:51 AM in reply to Publius
      You left out churches
  • by SAM Location: Grand Junction on May 18, 2012 at 06:36 AM
    I have heard these same complaints about School District 51 for 40 years. The top administrators have always been over paid and have no shame about it. No one makes them take a pay cut that would be, not only the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do. They just keep right on taking care of themselves and the tax payers keep paying for their greed. How does one recall a school district?
    • reply
      by Sammy on May 18, 2012 at 06:28 PM in reply to SAM
      Sam. You are so right on. As I said before, they just hope that we get tired of bringing this subject up and that we will forget and just go away. Please people, see this and let's make a statement. We don't need EXECUTIVE directors, just department managers without the high price of so called executives. thank you
  • by What a joke Location: GJ on May 17, 2012 at 10:38 PM
    Here is a novel idea for them: cut about one third of the over inflated salaries of the top administrators in SD 51, and start to spend wisely. Oh wait that makes too much sense, so pretend to cut elsewhere while they maintain such outrageous salaries. What a bunch of BS, while they taxpayers in this district are forced to struggle with lower pay so should these overpaid hypocrites.
  • by SD51 teacher on May 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
    The truth will soon be made known that the administration was cut by 15%, but that is not really what happened. Here is the truth in a nutshell: It is not the "upper" administration, but administrative personnel such as SPED secretaries (needed by the department, paid about 20,000 a year). Don't be fooled by the percentage they gave for administrative cuts - it is still not the administration big wigs that make the 80,000 plus salaries.
    • reply
      by Sammy on May 17, 2012 at 09:37 PM in reply to SD51 teacher
      Thanks SD51 teacher. What we really need is the "real" truth. You people with the real knowing of what is going on is what matters. I'm just a taxpayer who pays these higher up people and a husband who's wife, along with many other well deserved employee's who really take care of our kids, that are taking the hit for these selfish, undeserving people who are doing everything to cover their rear ends to save their high paying salaries. Thanks again.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 17, 2012 at 09:40 PM in reply to SD51 teacher
      Yep. Even by the new "spokeswoman" of the district that will say on the tv and in the papers that she desrves a raise of what to what Kirkland was making of close to 75,000 a year and she doesnt even sent her kids to the SD51 but a private school. Good use of our tax payer dollars..NOT!! If she supported out schools and children and teachers she would not be demanding a raise and would send her kids to SD51.. Im taking it that public schools are not good enough for her kids even though she "says" she supports them..
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM in reply to SD51 teacher
      Actually, the 15% cut is to Central Administration, which means the top people in the admin (the "big wigs" you refer to). The SPED secretaries are not included in that calculation.
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