Fired Up

I'm not sure what is stranger - that I haven't blogged anything in two months or that I am back today, blogging again.
Anyway, I was motivated to write my feelings in order to keep from sliding into some dark place.
You see, today I was fired.
Technically it is called a "Reduction in Force" notice, but it means that after my teaching contract ends on June 8, I officially am not rehired for next year. I am a probationary teacher, as all teachers are their first two years in California, and have no claim to permanence, or what some incorrectly call tenure. There is a union, and rules, and EdCode regulations, and as long as they tell me before March 15, they can terminate my contract going forward.
It's not personal. It's not even about my professional duties. It's about politics and money.
See, our school district is looking at an $11M budget shortfall in the next school year. This is in part because of some changes that have already happened concerning how schools are funded and how teacher positions are paid, but it is also because of the uncertainty caused by Betsy DeVos and her pro-voucher stance about privatizing education. If students withdraw from public schools to attend taxpayer-funded private religious or charter schools, then we don't need this many teachers in the public school system. And with the union, it's last in-first out. I don't have three years here in San Diego, so I'm on the chopping block.
The district has the luxury of time - if they realize in July or August that they have the money, that they need the teachers because (A) 1800 kids are going to show up and will need teachers to teach them and (B) the district has a limit on how many students can be in a class at any one time, they can call upon those of us who were given a RIF notice and offer us our jobs back. But for some of us, the wait is a gamble we can't afford.
So the California EdCode says they have to lay me off by March 15 if they're going to, and they have to keep me in a priority pool of candidates for 24 months before they can consider outside hires, but who can afford to sit around unemployed for two years waiting and hoping?
I'm a "bird in the hand" kind of guy. I need a job - I need that security.
I'm not comfortable living on my savings and a hope that I'll get that phone call in July saying they've found the funding and they need me back.
So… Tonight, I'm writing my feelings and eating my weight in Ben and Jerry's.
Start streaming the Netflix…
I'll worry about it tomorrow.
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