Today was the day. It seems to get earlier each year. Just got home from the annual “Budget” meeting with the CSC (parent and teacher committee) and the news for next year is bleak….again. This year we will have to “reserve” 3% of our budget into a savings account in case the State of Colorado decides next year to cut more from the state education budget- which is very likely given its track record in the past few years. The impact to our school budget is essentially the equivalent of one teacher(~$50K). Given that, plus the fact that the district is no longer funding some of things they funded last year (Reading Recovery, SpEd) it is looking like we will be cutting not one, bu two classroom teachers and our Playworks coach, who has been invaluable to our school this year, and still be in the hole -$12,000. I am deeply concerned for our school and the improvements we are trying to make regarding our test scores and kids in general. They already come from disappointing home situations; they do not need this too. It was depressing to see the questions and discouraged faces of our supportive parents that are very familiar with money struggles. Fund raising will not bring us through this. It was hard to explain that even though 3 teachers for 50 students in 3rd grade (most of whom are transitioning into English and taking the CSAP in English for the first time) would be ideal, it is unlikely that we could afford it and the class sizes will go up to over 25. These parents expressed a desire to leave the school to find charters that would support smaller class sizes for their struggling kids. I would too, honestly. (and I, in fact, did three years ago.)
The bottom line for me is simply that we are no longer (or were we ever?) in control. The one thing I kept holding onto as I drove home is that I am extremely lucky to still have a job despite these cuts. The arts positions decided upon in the 2003 mill levy remain untouchable and I am in a good spot for now. I need to praise God for that and for the fact that I can come home to my kids tonight with less anxiety than some of the staff at my school right now. I can only hope that it stays this way, but removing myself from the equation always helps. Remembering that God has me just where he wants me, for now, takes everything and puts it into perspective. I am still on a mission to serve and glorify Him in everything that I do. I need to remember that each day when I drive into work until the day when I get my calling to go elsewhere. I want to encourage others in similar situations to keep the faith. The moment I woke up this morning was filled with anxiousness over being possibly evaluated, not being as prepared with my lessons and I would have hoped, and the looming bad news of the budget cuts, but I know tomorrow will be much better, because I know I am free. Free from the worry and anxiety that a job is what makes me me. It is only a vehicle through which God allows me to carry out His work and when it is over, He will let me know and move me to the next adventure. I am free to surrender EVERYTHING in my life to God.
Thanks for reading, and I hope there is hope for our school in the form of some budget relief int he future. In the meantime I am going to pray for the staff at my school faced with the hard reality of possibly losing heir jobs or moving into new positions next year, and the negative impact losing those people will have on our kids. If you pray, please include Harrington in your list, and thank you.