Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LISD buyout was meant to prevent layoffs, not justify cuts

I'm pretty sure this is laying around LISD's HR executive director's office.

Whoa! Just wait a doggone minute, as they would say in the ol' West. Let me make sure I understand this, step by step. First of all,  LISD recently offered buyouts to administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals in order to save money. Then we learned that the "targeted" number of each category applied and are expected to be approved. So, as I understand it, this will save the district millions of dollars and was meant to hopefully avoid any layoffs or other drastic cuts. So far, so good.

Now. for the classic bait and switch: LISD administration is now announcing that they will ask the board of trustees to approve plans to cut back it's pre-K 3 program for next year from its current full-day schedule to half-day. According to LISD executive director of human resources, David Garza, reducing the pre-K3 program will free-up 36 teachers and teacher aides that will be needed to fill some of the vacancies created by the ongoing buyout. According to the Laredo Morning Times :

David Garza, LISD executive director of human resources, said the 18 teachers and 18 aides affected by the proposed (pre-K3) restructuring would be reassigned to vacant district positions. Garza pointed out at Tuesday’s meeting that positions should be available, as 48 elementary teachers and 26 teacher aides have signed up for LISD’s buyout offer, meaning they likely will not be returning next school year.

Did you catch that sleight-of-hand?: Offer buyout as a means of saving. Get employees to take buyouts. Save $millions as a result. Use the savings created by buyouts to ?:

a. Prevent any further layoffs or cutbacks.
b. Justify even more cutbacks such as to the pre-K3 program.

Although the taxpayers, parents and employees were lead to believe that the answer would be "a", in this version of  "the joke's on you" trick, the answer is apparently "b": Justify even more cutbacks, such as reducing the pre-K3 program to half-day. I guess "deceiving the public" is part of the executive director of human resources job description. That being the case, job well-done Mr. Garza, job well-done.

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