So today was our first “Buy Back Day.” To the uninitiated, a Buy Back day is an official, LAUSD-sanctioned overtime pay day. We all get together and have what amounts to school-wide team-building activities. IOW: Kill me, please.
Now, I am not one to complain about legitimate skill-building professional workshops. Forums on curriculum and lesson-planning, refresher courses on educational psychology, and all that I absolutely adore (…no, seriously).
These meetings feel more like those moments in movies when the bosses ask you, “Is this good for the company?” Yet another day when we teachers are told to raise test scores and keep a positive attitude, while at the same time being told insanely demoralizing tidbits from our superiors.
I can (normally) tolerate the motivational slogans and pump-me-up songs, which (if work-related, high jinks-laden comedies have taught me anything) I imagine take place in corporate America all the goddamn time.
But after a whole nine months of getting paid regularly, I thought I would share the fact that due to LAUSD’s completely stunning and cartoonish-jaw-drop-inducing ineptitude some teachers in LAUSD have still not received a paycheck SINCE JANUARY. I’ll let you mull that over for a bit.
I work with some teachers who have been complaining about their dwindling savings. I am single, with no kids. They are married with two or three kids. Some of them are now so broke, they can’t afford anything that isn’t food. According to this article from the Times, dated August 25 some teachers have resorted to taking out loans. Great. Teachers don’t get paid enough, are likely paying off student loans, and are now having to borrow more money just to maintain their privilege to teach.
LAUSD, on the other hand, says they need $37 million to fix the payroll system, which came with an already-astronomical $95 million price tag. I’ll let you mull that over for a bit.
There is a lot of media coverage (UTLA’s media coverage linkdump), and I guess this is the reason I have not written about this mess previously. But today, I just felt rather insulted. I’m sure that no admin, no Beaudry office slave has had their paycheck so fucked.
What good is overtime pay if I’m not guaranteed a check? Back in June, a judge threw out a lawsuit against LAUSD which would have ordered a Writ of Mandate for them to fix the payroll and pay their teachers. The judge said that “she expected the new school board to resolve the payroll problems immediately.” Oh.
There are two more Buy Back days scheduled this week. I think i can tolerate vapid team-building retreats. At least I’m getting paid for it.