30% Pay Cut Effective Immediately

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teachertime, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Hi everyone,-----sorry it's so long....

    The Financial Director began the meeting with these words..."First, let me say, we value each and every one of you in this school, but..."

    My school had a mandatory teacher meeting yesterday to inform us that effective immediately all teachers would have a 30% pay cut that began about a week or so ago. Pay checks are due out on Friday.

    The explanation given for these cuts were simply the owners of the school--it's private--have run into a bit of financial problems and the only solutions were either teacher layoffs or pay cuts. He said he and his wife have known for a time that a decision had to be made and unfortunately, now they had to decide.

    The school administration is very strange. They get upset if you need copies made for the children to use. You, the teacher, do not have access to the printers to print your own material, and anything that needs to be copied has to be in the office no earlier than 24 hours in advance at the minimum. I left an item in the office one morning before school for the next day and the next day, it was still in the bin to be copied.

    School pictures were Monday and it was required that the staff purchase a demin shirt and sweater (with school logos on both)--Price $75. Again, this was a mandoratory thing. They bring us in the office on Tuesday and tell us the news. Parent-Teacher conferences are Thursday and Friday with Friday as a payday.

    One of the teachers, a 2-year-olds teacher, quit on the spot. She came back this morning to talk with the head of the school about what the law says in our state....businesses must give 30 days written notice for any impending pay reduction and cannot be retroactive.

    So today when the financial director called me into his office to inform me of my new salary, I made a comment to the law. He became beligerent and told me that he'd been in business for over 12years, that he didn't have to have the law quoted to him, and he was fully aware what he could do. He further told me that they had to make this decision or else lay teachers off and to reiterate what he said yesterday about financial problems. I told him that I didn't care, that he should've made a payroll decision in August when teaching jobs were still available out there.

    He wasn't too happy with me.

    Now I don't know what to do about this job. I like the kids, like to teach, but I can't see working as hard as I do for so very little money. Personally, already I've invested a huge amount of my own money--even brought in my own printer and paper to copy as I needed.

    Advice anyone?
     
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  3. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    30% GEEZ!! That is tough!
    I find it hard to believe they had NO idea 7 weeks ago that this woul happen. It sounds to me like they waited so people would be stuck! If you're not under contract you may want to get out. Even if you are you may still be able to get out. GOOD LUCK! :hugs:
     
  4. teachercat

    teachercat Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2007

    That sounds rough. :(

    My only advice would be to begin looking for positions elsewhere. If the school is in such bad shape, it's only a matter of time before it tanks completely.
     
  5. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I mentioned in the above post about the mandatory purchase of the "traveling uniform" for Picture Day. If they knew about the impending pay cuts, why did they choose for us to purchase the outfit?

    I'm not under a contract...thank goodness. I am going to start looking into something else and hopefully, I won't have to wait so long. I'll consider going to a school and work as a clerk to get my foot in the door. I probably will wait until I secure another position, because at least I do have a paycheck, though small, versus no paycheck and no promise of a new job.
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Completely agreed that they should have known. You may want to get out even if you've signed a contract, assuming there's anything in it regarding salary. One might even argue that they bargained in bad faith, meaning their contract is FRAUDULENT. Common law penalties for fraud are tripled (so, the 30% salary they're trying to cheat you out of would come back to you as 90% if you sued them successfully -- a 60% gain over where you'd be if they never tried to make the cut). You'd need a lawyer for this. With this kind of behavior, you may be able to go after their personal assets even if the school is set up as a corporation.

    Even if the contract doesn't say anything about salary or says salary can be cut without notice (or whatever cr*p they put in there), you can still likely get out. Get this statement about the salary being reduced, and whatever else you can, in writing.
    Is the financial director also the owner or something? I don't understand how his wife is involved.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Start looking for a new job NOW. If you can wait until December, I think that would be best. If you don't find anything by Dec, then hopefully you can stick it out until May. Start looking now though, applying...if nothing by now, then definitely start in Feb or March. I'm sorry this was sprung on you like this.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Oct 17, 2007

    who put the u in ugly?

    this was uggggly

    and here is the real deal...teachers are a special class of 2nd rate citizens according to the unemployment office

    therefore, anything you say or do can be held against you should you decide to quit, or worse, if they lay you off.

    you have a very good reason, but it is not considered a 'good cause'. to unemployment any job is a job. we are supposed to just sit down, be quiet, and work regardless how we are treated.

    if your bank or landlord said, starting next week, your mortgage/rent will increase 30% then what would you do? :eek:

    unfortunately...things are getting tight here in chicago as well. county commissioner wants to increase taxes on everything...including bottled water. guess I have to start boiling tap water, and put in a tupperware cup with a lid.

    county taxes will go up to 11%. buses will cut lines, and increase fares.

    these are outside factors that affect the amount of money that we take home.

    in your case...you have a ugggly factor inside that affects the money you take home.

    so, yeah, they broke a deal...you didn't expect to make less money and unless you want to start working part time for walgreens or Khol's, you need to find another job.

    fighting them will not help.

    trust me.
    been there.
    done that.

    and when you have nothing left, your back up system...unemployment, will turn their backs on you!

    tread carefully...and start sending out resumes

    you didn't stop working 30% of the time. you didn't cut your hours by 30%!

    so..I think you have your answer...you expected a certain amount, and now you have to make it somehow. :unsure:
     
  9. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2007

    This is my thought also. If they are struggling, they may not make it.
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    What a stinky situation. I don't know what new advice I can offer. This has to be illegal on so many different levels. If a company or corporation tried there would be a mutiny. I wouldn't blame your staff if you all didn't show up for a few days or only started working on a rotating basis so that you get 30% of the month off of work.
     
  11. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    What about quitting and subbing?
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    :lol::lol::lol: Yeah, that's what I did.

    no money, no me!
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I can tell you that it's more famine that feasting. Two days out of the week was the most I have had. Signing up for several districts is the best way. But Grammy's love is pre-k. She would have to be on the list for all grades to make sure they called her. I asked for pre-k to 4th only!

    a better deal would be finding an administrative job. this is a window of opportunity. :)
     
  14. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I would keep looking for a new job and keep the old one for now. You don't want to end up with nothing. Sometimes there are openings mid-year after winter break. Also, don't burn bridges at your current school. You will want references, because a hole in your resume looks bad. BUT if they tank, getting references won't work anyway. This happened to me years ago, when a pre-school I worked at went under.

    Also, since you already work in a private school, look on the local accredidation agency's website. I know ours lists open positions.

    Good Luck!
     
  15. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Thanks everyone for all your advice. This is a tough position to be in that's for sure.

    Did I tell you that when a teacher is out, the children are farmed out to other classes near their age for that day? For instance, when the kindergarten teacher was out for two days, the students were divided between the 4-year-olds and 3-year-olds.

    When the 2-year-old teacher quit yesterday, today her students went to the 3-year-old room.

    Someone posted earlier a question about the wife/husband relationship to the school. The wife is the "head of school"--in other words, she's the principal, and her husband is the financial man for the school.

    What happened that got them in trouble was they purchased some land to build, had to have soil samples and something was wrong with the soil so they needed another sample, which caused umpteen number of dollars.

    The school is currently housed in a church, the church has been sold to another buyer and now they want us out of the building....go figure. So now the school needs to move and move fast.

    So, the owners decided to build a new school in the area rather than purchase another building that would need extensive remodeling. They aren't disclosing everything. They are only giving us bits and pieces.

    But it's getting old. Can't print copies, mandatory meetings called at the last minute, no substitutes, pay cuts. Just doesn't add up.
     
  16. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Sorry, teachertime! :( I'd start sending out resumes asap.
     
  17. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Oct 17, 2007

    It sounds like they violated your contract. I would get a lawyer immediately.

    and I would start looking. Your job sounds like it is precarious and a little obnoxious.

    Sorry, that stinks!!!
     
  18. mrs. dub

    mrs. dub Companion

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Wow, I worked at a charter school a few years back with very similar financial circumstances as your current school....the principal/owner kept threatening to reduce pay, but the teachers managed to fight that off. I eventually quit, citing "stress" (which was not a lie at that point). I left mid year and felt horrible, but I'm so glad I did it. Apparently, the pay situation got worse there, not better.

    Administrations like that show that they do not value their teachers--or else they would never reduce your pay without giving you a heads up first (or presenting you with options). That's rotten! You deserve more than that as a person and as a professional.

    I wish you the best of luck whether you stay or go, but I really do hope you find a steady employer that values your time talent, and soon.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Wow. As a second year teacher I make $38K, so if I ran the numbers correctly that means I would take a hit of over 11K - bringing my salary to 26K. Impossible.

    All I can say is best of luck finding a new place of employment. I feel for you.
     
  20. ddb23

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    Bad situation - you need to get out of there. I would keep the old job for now, but look for another job full time. If you need to take time to go to another interview, then take it without any thought. Once you get another offer, go!

    As nice as it would be to throw your keys at them and never look back, leaving is a 100% pay cut...

    Sounds like this guy doesn't know much about a business at all. He had to know his enrollment numbers in August. Unless 30% of the students just left...


    db
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 18, 2007

    teachertime, on the local news they have a lawyer that will come on and ask legal questions submitted by viewers. Just so happens that today's question had to do with pay and benefit cuts. I thought of you so I made sure I listened. He said that if you don't sign a contract you are basically at the mercy of the company for which you work. I'll see if I can't find a link to the story.

    Here's the link to the story:
    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/myfox/pages...n=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=5.2.1
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  22. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I like this advice.
     
  23. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    3 Sons, by the way, this is another reason privatization of schools can be very bad. I've heard of this happening several times from teachers I know. Also, in some of these schools they don't even have teacher's editions or enough textbooks for the students, much less other materials. How they do that with the Case-Williams law I don't know.
     
  24. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    A bird in the hand . . . is worth 2/3 of those in the bush??? Start looking right away. If you are offered a job, give your notice and go. This is just wrong and shows that more upheaval is probably on the way. But, keep doing your very best. You will feel better about yourself and you will leave with your flags flying high! If you don't get offered a job somewhere else, I would finish out the year because as you say, at least it is something.
     
  25. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Hey, I have the perfect solution...have the wife continue to be the administrator, and have the husband get out a get a job and the teachers can be paid with his salary!! :lol::lol:

    In reality, update your resume, beef up your portfolio and start looking.
     
  26. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Oct 18, 2007

  27. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    something...that is, until they start bouncing checks or not paying you at all. :mad:

    that's what happened to me. I was hired by a church based day care when they KNEW they did not have funds to pay me.

    now I have an offer for new state pre-k for all program. just got fingerprinted. they need to wait for approval. I am in no hurry. I rather them tell me honestly, governor is holding money, you can't start yet, than to have me come in and work and not get a check in two weeks.

    at this rate...sorry to say, I can see that coming too!

    start sending out your resume.....
    fill out some substitute applications
    stock up on can goods
    cut back on frilly stuff
    batten down the hatches

    a storms a-coming
     
  28. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    director told me..."I have two checks I can't cash."

    they do that...keep kids to get funding, keep staff but don't pay them!
     
  29. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Go to the elementary education section, st. louis area teachers thread. I don't know where you are in MO, but could this be for you?;)
     
  30. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 18, 2007

    Wow!! I feel so much support out there for my current dilemna. Thanks so very much.

    I do live in the St. Louis area and will look into that position. Again, a humble thanks to all of you who have responded.

    Today we had parent-teacher conferences and during an interim our small staff of "pay-cut" teachers went off the site to lunch and discussed our options.

    We feel that if they had come to us last month or whenever they realized the problem and had laid out what was going on, then ask us if we would be agreeable to a pay cut, a temporary one until January, we could have swallowed this pill in a different way. And they could have told us that the options were few at that time. At least, then we could have been included in the decision than being flat told about the pay cut. Instead, the way they chose to tell us, let us know they really don't respect us as teachers or as people.

    One teacher suggested we all develop a blue flu for several days--we nixed that because they would require us to have doctor's notes to come back to work, they would send the students to a room--the small auditorium--and let them all watch movies for those three days, and for those that work part-time on an hourly wage who must work to get paid would not have any money for those three days.

    One teacher suggested we cut our work load by 30% once a week.

    Another teacher felt that we needed to tell some of the parents of our pay cut and that we are all looking for other positions. We thought this one had the most merit, because it will affect the students in the end.

    BTW as a side note here: The school requires the parents to commit to the full tuition when they enroll their child in the school at the beginning of the year. So, this means if the student leaves during the year, the parents have signed some kind of contract that states they will be liable for the full tuition regardless if the student withdraws or stays. Interesting, huh?

    So, tonight during my very last conference, I told a parent of the situation. At first, I told her only that I was concerned I wouldn't be here much longer. When she asked if it was school politics, I told her about how the entire teaching staff had been given the pay cut retro to the last ten days, that it's supposed to be only a temporary thing (until January), with no hope of being reimbursed.

    She immediately said she understood and under the same conditions, she would also be looking for something else, that the parents should be made aware of what's happening because it will affect them greatly. Then she said she really hopes I stay, that she likes the way I teach her children, and that she really, really hates the idea of "good" teachers leaving the school.

    Of all the parents (of my students) in the school, she is one who I believe will not go repeating and getting everyone stirred up. I really feel she is someone who is trustworthy. She told me that she appreciated that I trusted her with the information and she would believe in prayer that we all would make the best decision.

    Now I'm having second thoughts about telling her and think I should have held my tongue. (I could excuse myself and say I was tired and stressed, but those are excuses--I should have kept the parent conference on the subject of their children). But be that as it may, it's out there now.

    I do know of at least one other teacher also told a parent (before lunch). I haven't spoken to any of the staff after I talked with this parent. It was waaayyyy over the last time for parent-teacher conference and I just wanted to get home.

    Thanks again for the support on this site. You all have been encouraging in spite of the hard news.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
  31. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Oct 18, 2007

    Hope the storms have not affected you...the weather that is...

    life's storms are already blowing...:unsure:

    since other teachers blew the whistle, there's nothing more you can do. if admin gets mad, it's their own fault. they should have expected something. it's called muntiny!!!

    I was getting upset at walgreens, treating me like a teenager at mcdonalds. I try to call in sick, and they practically cursed me out. then they were terribly nice the next day, begging me to come to work! :eek: They knew I had filed for unemployment, but I had not told them I was out of a job. So they got mad one day, and told unemployment they fired me! this held up any chance of me getting a check! that really ticked me off! then, they started calling me in every other day! see..they knew I was available, and was trying to make me work extra hours...

    but I didn't fall for it..because I would be sore, tired, and a basket case working too many hours, and unable to interview for real work.

    so I quit! and I don't feel bad about it, because they were not treating me right! I didn't even bother to call, I sent them a letter certified mail. I figured I didn't need to hear any more insults, and having a certified letter covered me in the future.
     
  32. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 19, 2007

    Master Pre-K You said in your post "Hope the storms have not affected you...the weather that is...

    life's storms are already blowing...:unsure:"


    This is so true. You put a smile on my face and it felt good.

    Thanks.

    p.s. I don't know how (and I almost embarassed to say this) to put previous post quotes in those cute little boxes. So I could use a little guidance if anyone can tell me how.:wub:
     
  33. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    You click "Reply w/ quote" at the bottom of the post you want to quote. Then you can edit or delete what you want in the quote as long as the code is still there.... the code is any part not in the original text, and yours for this has

    [ QUOTE=teachertime;2948737]

    at the beginning and then [/ QUOTE] at the end... I added spaces and changed the numbers so I would not end up being quoted.

    What I don't know how to do is multiple quotes. My guess is that you then copy and paste the quote from other people, copy the code and do it yourself, but someone else probably knows that better than me.
     
  34. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Yeah, IrishDave is good at that! Of course, he is also known for editing your quotes, and making them lean towards his point of view! :lol:
     
  35. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    You're welcomed. I have a new job..and just waiting for a start date. Be still, and let Him do his will.
     
  36. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I am sorry for your difficulties. The situation was definitely mismanaged and is atrocious.

    What I don't understand is why teachers have not told the parents and have their support. If I was paying tuition at a school I would want to know that teachers were probably going to be looking for jobs and may or may not be putting their best effort forth (not saying you won't) since they aren't being paid as well. I would also want to know if the school was in such bad shape they may not be open or have the money to pay for things the kids need. Maybe the parents could help with some sort of fundraising or helping to draft more sound fiscal practices. Why do they think it is going to be an better in January? Who accredites the school? They should know.

    Is it a charter school? Just because it is a charter doesn't mean it doesn't have rules. There should be a charter committee running it not just a husband and wife so maybe it is just a private school?
     
  37. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 19, 2007

    This is a private day school. It started out as a daycare and grew slowly into a small elementary school. This couple have been in business since 1998. The entire school population is about 80 students from age 2 to 12.

    The couple haven't told the parents a lot of information. They don't know the building where we have school has been sold to a church. (It's actually more a church than a school anyway). They haven't told the parents they bought land to build a new school and they haven't told the parents about the problems with the soil on the land. They haven't told the parents that next school year will be in the new building.

    The problem arose due to the land being next to a gasoline station. Apparently some requirement for soil testing had to be done and now there might contaminated soil from the gasoline station. They had a second soil test done (because EPA is involved) and if the sample is contaminated, they have to fix this before they can start to break ground for the new school.

    When the financial director told us about the pay cuts, he thinks the problem will be solved because his wife (the head of the school) has applied for some grant money for our state. IF the school gets the grant, then there will be plenty of money for pay our regular salary. They won't know anything until the end of November. IF they get the money, our pay will be restored starting as early as January, but no retroactive reimbursement will be provided.

    Hope this explains some of the questions you posed.

    The issue the teachers are having one is trust. We feel like they could have handled the situation very differently. They could've approached us when they first started having financial difficulty. They could've presented the few options they had available to us before it had gotten out of hand so to speak. They could've told us they were working the numbers and trying to figure out a solution and mention that one of the options would be to a possible pay decrease for a short time instead of telling us that effective with this paycheck from October 1, we have no choice but to cut it 30%.

    We were working at one pay when in reality, we were not. We have one teacher who is a single mom with two children (recently divorced and living back with her parents), has no car, and wanting to move out and live on her own. She was going to purchase a car this weekend. Now she can't cause she's not making any money.

    I'm sorry to belabor this situation. It's just a crazy one.

    The good news is--at least for the present-- I do have a job, a roof over my head, and food in the refrigerator.

    Thanks for letting me rant.
     
  38. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    My concern would then be for the future. The grant is nice, if you get it, but seems like a band-aid for the problem. How will the finances get straigtened out for the future to prevent further problem?
     
  39. teachertime

    teachertime Companion

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    Oct 21, 2007

    The school situation is strange that's for sure.

    Besides the pay cut, teachers can't use the copy machine because it's a known fact that teachers use too much paper. We have to have any copy requests in the main office at a minimum 24 hours in advance--and then we might not get the copies on the day we need them. So another teacher and I go to Kinkos or print what's needed from home. I brought my copy machine to my room and other teachers found out and started asking me to make copies for them, too. I ended up bringing my copy machine back home.

    My mind boggles at the thought of us having to purchase a "traveling uniform" for the school pictures the day before they made the announcement of the pay cuts that had been in effect---but unbeknownst to us at the time. That was $75 I and the others could use now. The traveling uniform is only used for field trips, which are few and far between.
     
  40. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
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    Oct 21, 2007

    I would be ready to jump ship too. Good luck!
     
  41. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Oct 22, 2007

    i would have called my union lawyer!
     

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