Thursday, July 24, 2008

"We are going back to the dark ages"

The annual New Hampshire camping trip that used to be 14 days is now down to five, and there won't be any side trips to theme parks for Westborough teacher Deborah Harvell and her two teenage daughters.

Deborah Harvell, 42, a speech therapy specialist in Westborough: "Typically I work the summer so that we can have a summer vacation. This year I'm doing it just to pay the bills."

Like many public school teachers in Boston's western suburbs, Harvell - who said she also has doubled her normal summer tutoring workload - said she is economizing and taking on extra work this summer in the face of uncertain times. Her family used to eat out once a week; now, it's once a month. Car trips are kept to a minimum, and it will be nature hikes instead of ATV rentals when they head north for their abbreviated summer getaway.

"Typically, I work the summer so that we can have a summer vacation," said Harvell, a 42-year-old speech therapy specialist. "This year, I'm doing it just to pay the bills."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. After the rigors of the school year, the period from late June through early September is traditionally a time for teachers to relax, regroup, and recharge their batteries. For many, the blissful period is what attracted them to the job in the first place.

Yet after a spring marked by rising gasoline and food prices, voter rejections of Proposition 2 1/2 property tax limit overrides, shrinking revenues, and municipal regrouping, some teachers say this has become the summer of their discontent.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe West section here

Note: Regular readers should recognize that the graphic is incorrect; Franklin ended up restoring 3 teachers so 42.5 will not be returning this September.

More important the article and graphic shows that Franklin is not alone in reducing their teacher population. All these children will see the larger class sizes at a time when their education is critical to their future.

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