Feb 19, 2011

WTU Letter To Mayor Gray Re Furloughs

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray

Government of the District of Columbia

Executive Office of the Mayor

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 316

Washington, DC 20004

RE: Alternatives to Furloughs


Dear Mayor Gray:

On Wednesday, February 16, 2011 District of Columbia Public Schools’ teachers received a letter informing them of four (4) mandatory furlough days. A copy of this letter has been attached for your reference. The Washington Teachers’ Union believes teachers should not suffer due to poor budget decisions made by senior level DC government officials. These same officials also violated city spending laws, causing employees economic hardship and reducing confidence in our city’s government.

The D.C. Anti-Deficiency Act sets strict limits on agency spending. Yet Freedom of Information Act records demonstrate more than 400 violations of the law between fiscal years 2005 and 2007. There is also clear indication that certain agencies exceeded their budgets by at least $1 million nearly 100 times in fiscal years 2006 and 2007. While teachers may be held accountable for student progress with the threat of termination, which officials are to be held accountable for the deficit and violation of the D.C. Anti- Deficiency Act? It would be unfair to penalize teachers for the wrongdoings of these officials. Hence, WTU would like to propose the following budget-reducing alternatives instead of furloughing teachers.

· Reduce sick leave by the same amount of days before a teacher is furloughed thereby achieving the same savings;

· Eliminate outside consulting contracts including those contractors employed to hire new personnel;

· Discontinue non-essential student testing and terminate the credit recovery program;

·Eliminate Instructional Superintendents, Master Educators’ positions and relegate teacher/school personnel evaluations to principals; and

· Place a moratorium on administrators’ bonus payment including capping all non classroom teacher salaries over $100,000 including the Chancellor’s bonus.

These suggestions are representative of the ideas expressed by our city’s concerned teachers. For further details, please feel free to reference Washington Teachers' Union Blog at: http://thewashingtonteacher.blogspot.com/ . I look forward to discussing this matter with you in the near future.


Nathan Saunders



Anonymous said...

I'm sure that this tepid letter is going to have Mayor Gray racing to correct the injustice he has created.

Seriously, I'm not sure what that letter is supposed to achieve other then letting Mayor Gray know that we are aware of the fact that we are powerless.

Don't you think that they thought about those other options before furloughing us, and decided that the furloughs were just easier then reducing consulting contracts, cutting bloated administration downtown, or otherwise offending stakeholders with more power.

Seriously, if this letter is it, I suspect we will be told what else we are giving up in the next couple of months. I suspect for a start they are going to want to get rid of next years wage increase, and probably roll back this years. What are we going to do, send another letter?

Anonymous said...

Quit with the glossy brochures for teachers, IMPACT, Training, and on Friday one that was the exact same information that is on our school website except it was in full color, card stock with a gloss finish - goodness only knows how much it cost. What purpose does it serve to give each teacher a copy of what their own school offers - who is in charge of printing and design at DCPS? A disgusting waste of money !!!

lodesterre said...

Hey Candi,

You need to take a look at this video of Kaya Henderson talking to the TFA 20th Anniversary celebration. She offers an entire room of TFAers a job telling them to send their resumes to DCPS because DC needs you. Thought we were in a hiring freeze. Anyway, here's the video: http://vimeo.com/19899601

Anonymous said...

If we are in a budget freeze, how is that Chairman Kwame Brown orders 2 LIncoln Navigators. Of course my question is rhetorical. When Brown ordered the first car, it was not to his liking due to the color inside. Unbelievable that we furlough city workers when waste in government is still going on. Who is minding the store?

chilly_pfh said...

Funny, nobody said anything about anyone one elses vehicle. In the Time artlcle Rhee gets driven around...

Anonymous said...

Please do not overlook the link provided by lodesterre. Apparently, as teachers receive their excess letters, the interim chancellor has plans to offer positions to TFAers.

Again, the link is http://vimeo.com/19899601.

lodesterre said...

The Kwamimobiles and Mr. Gray putting family on the payroll AND giving them raises. One deputy, when asked why she gave herself a raise to $180,000 said "I like round numbers for my taxes." Meanwhile we are being taxed for our national holidays. I've got a nice round number for her, but she might not like it.

Anonymous said...


Since DCPS is appealing the decision to re-instate the probationary teachers, do you have any idea how long the appeals process will take before a final decision is made?

TeachHard said...

How about being serious about eliminating students from outside the district? Also how about requiring parents who utilize aftercare services to provide documentation that states why they will be unable to care for their own children, like their work hours run until 5pm or something similar. Apathy and general uselessness of parents is not a reason to spend millions of dollars on aftercare. Hard-working parents are.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I watched the video link provided above. Kaya Henderson at her; her; her TFA 20th anniversary summit weekend. Disappointing to see her so aggressive about TFA. She seems like its all about TFA and that they are the hope for DCPS.

Anonymous said...

I feel like we are loosing steam here, I miss this blog and the lack of updates makes me feel like we are loosing the fight in education along with what is going on in the rest of the nation to teachers and public service workers. I know you have a different role now, but I personally miss Candi the hell raiser.

Anonymous said...

Many of our staff viewed their upcoming paycheck on PeopleSoft today. Many worried folks wondering how they will make their already tight budgets work this month and in the coming months with more furlough days. Does the mayor or any of the council have a similar worry for themselves? Did they ever think of this when they were ridiculously over spending? Real working class people pay the price for that incompetence.