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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Should OKC get the REDS out?

Monday night, the Oklahoma City school board had its regular meeting and, in addition to the problem of weather related school closings, discussed how to meet a $4 million budget shortfall caused by reduced state funding. Various items were discussed including the sale of some closed school properties, such as old John Marshall High School, and "realigning the support and certified staff in the central office."

One area of administrative expense needs to be addressed by the district: the six Regional Educational Directors, or REDS as they are often termed. These are six "super-principals" who oversee schools in six different regions of the school district. These are administors who administrate other administrators. They do not have direct contact with students in the classroom.

Frankly, most of the rank and file certified and support staff cannot fathom what these people do other than create another layer of meddlesome bureaucracy as well as administrative expense. If the district wants to make cuts in personnel, many teachers point to these offices as a way for the district to save a considerable amount of money, perhaps as much as as a half-million dollars or more.

Personally, I do not know if this is a wise move, but it is something constantly discussed among teachers whenever the subject of staff reductions comes up.

If the district chooses to hold on to these positions, it should explain to teachers and staff faced with the possibility of reductions why these positions are retained while those who have more direct contact with students face reductions.

OKC School Board Talks About Money Saving Options

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