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
SENT BY MAIL
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.