* * *
Prepare for collapse.
Here is a quick roundup with a general theme of “Hard Times”.
12th Grade Optional
At Utah’s West Jordan High School, the halls have swirled lately with debate over the merits of 12th grade. The sudden buzz over the relative value of senior year stems from a recent proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars that Utah make a dent in its budget gap by eliminating the 12th grade.
Buttars has since toned down the idea, suggesting instead that senior year become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The proposal comes as the state faces a $700-million shortfall and reflects the creativity — or desperation — of lawmakers all over.
“You’re looking at these budget gaps where lawmakers have to use everything and anything to try to resolve them,” said Todd Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s left lawmakers with very unpopular decisions.”
“The bottom line is saving taxpayer dollars while improving options for students,” said state Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, a Republican and co-chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “The more options we give to students to accelerate, the more beneficial it is to students and taxpayers.”
Jordan Utah School District To Lay Off 500
The Jordan School District will lay off 500 employees by July 1 as part of an effort to make up for a $30 million shortfall.
By a 6-1 vote, the Jordan Board of Education approved options to reduce the 2010-11 budget, which include personnel cuts, programs and services cuts, transfer of expenditures to other programs, compensation adjustments, class-size increases, and possible tax increases.
Between now and the end of March, the board will determine which positions and programs will be eliminated. As many as 250 teaching positions and 250 administrative/support staff positions will be cut.
Not a single teacher need be cut. All it takes is unions to lower salary demands and/or pensions. Any cuts are the direct responsibility of the Teachers’ union.
Harrisburg Pennsylvania Heads For Bankruptcy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved a step closer to defaulting on a bond payment when its city council passed a 2010 budget that does not include $68 million in debt repayments on an incinerator.