Chatter and Chitter Heritage

Economic Downturn Effects Education In Appalachia

middle school

Chitter and Chatter finished up the school year this week-and are quite happy about it. During their summer vacation they are hoping to do things like craft and Play in the water.

While the Blind Pig family is excited about summer and the fun it holds-everyone in our county isn’t as thrilled. Our state government has made drastic cutbacks in education funding due to the economic downturn.

Cherokee County has approximately 3,300 students and approximately 150 teachers. Our student population has decreased by about 100 students over the past year-from families being forced to relocate in an effort to find work.

In the last week, 44 teachers have been given notice that their jobs no longer exist. While folks were expecting some layoffs-no one was prepared for 44 teachers. I can’t imagine what the individuals must be feeling-but I can speak as a parent-and I’m left wondering how they will educate the children of our county without those 44 teachers?

**UPDATE: By the time school started back after summer break all the teachers got to return to their jobs-except about 6. We were very THANKFUL!!

I know all of the counties in NC are facing similar education cutbacks-but what about where you live? Has the economy effected education spending in your neck of the woods?


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  • Reply
    July 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Even before the economic downturn, the population shift out of the bigger cities here in the midwest meant less students, less state and federal funding, and more cutbacks. There haven’t been drastic cuts here, but several school buildings have been closed, and the students moved to the next closest building. besides that, ours is a district with a lot of students coming from homes with no dad around. I think that’s the biggest problem of all. for the most part, I think our city school district does a good job under the circumstances.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 18, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    It seems that things are all out of balance. Our children are our most important asset and we need to treat them that way.
    Instead of cutting teachers they would do well to cut administrators!!!

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    June 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Wow. That is just awful. I’m sorry to hear that. We really haven’t been that impacted here. In fact, we get a weekly call on Sunday night to remind us that the neighborhood school is serving free breakfast and lunch to any kids who show up. I don’t know how many takers they are getting, but they are still serving it up during summer school. I don’t know if they will continue when school is out or not.
    And thank you, Tipper, for your kind words regarding my blog post. I’m still not sure what we are going to do, but I’m getting closer. : )

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    June 17, 2009 at 1:08 am

    That’s a huge cut! so sorry! We haven’t seen anything of that nature – our area is growing rapidly still. . .

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    June 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Tipper, I lost my last comment so I’ll try to remember what I said!
    In Central Oregon, in my school district in a town of 25,000, about 60 teachers have been cut, the district is going to a 4-day school week, and all music and PE specialists have been cut. And more bad news on the way.
    Yes, I hear you, it’s tough. Praying for many blessings, though. It’ll be families/communities working together and helping each other that will make things work.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    When the provincial government sets their budget for the year here in Ontario, it is set. We won’t see any cut in education costs until the next budget. I do expect that there will be some then. Who will suffer? Special needs children will be hit the hardest, I expect.
    Glad to catch up on some of your news. Sorry I haven’t been to visit for a while.
    Have a great week, my friend and have fun with the girls over the summer. Love the stomping.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    June 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Awful, Tipper! I don’t have children, so I am not as anxious as someone in your position or many other parents. But if I had my way, education would never, ever be cut! Luckily, home schooling has been a concept not frowned upon when/if it becomes an option! With each other’s support, we’ll get through this!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    June 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Dee from Tennessee
    Wow…that’s attention-getting for sure. To the best of my knowledge, our county, which is ranked near the bottom in the state as far as salaries, etc., isn’t laying off. (But it it such a TIGHT job market here…several college graduates from last year STILL can’t get a teaching position…after they borrowed a ton of money.) Basically,it is next to impossible to get any kind of job in our county now.
    An adjoining county, which is one of the top 5 or so in the state, is not refunding teaching positions for teaching Spanish in elementary schools. (That’s the latest I had read in the newspaper.) Which, of course, our county doesn’t offer.
    I am really curious what kind of positions those 44 consist of? I pray that those teachers are certified and High Qualified in areas that they can find a job. PLUS, be able to get health insurance. COBRA is so expensive, although I’ve read that their is temporary help available for a few months with COBRA payments.
    My heart goes out to all who have lost a job. It’s heartbreaking to see a plant close and watch the tv reporters interviewing the workers, esp. the ones in their late 50s…and again, it’s not just the salary — the health insurance issue is overwhelming in itself.
    Thankfully, we still have jobs but my husband’s health has become fragile all at once and the company he works for has filed bankruptcy. We’ll make it, we’ll survive and I can pick him up on my insurance, I think. Compared to our colleagues, we are in a bad spot as far as retirement funds, and we are old so there’s no time to change that. BUT at the same time, compared to many, many people in our county and anywhere else, we are BLESSED. Blessed I tell you. Thank you Lord.
    One more thing (and I already know I’ve written way too much), prayers are also uplifted for strength for everyone who has lost a job and that anxiety be kept at bay for everyone facing job loss. Anxiety…..can you tell you’ve touch an issue that makes this ol’ heart beat faster? Sorry, Tipper for going on like this. I just feel so sorry for them.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    There has been a lot of shuffling things around here. Not too many layoffs that I know of (my wife is a teacher) but lots of talk and lots of cutbacks in small stuff (so far)

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    That is a brutal setback! I am sorry. I hope things turn around very, very soon.

  • Reply
    Shirley Bullock
    June 13, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Tipper we all have to stick together

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I hope Chitter and Chatter have a wonderful summer and have a lot of fun. It’s very unfortunate about the cuts in public education. I sure hope the economy will turn around before school begins next year.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    It seems when there needs to be cut-backs, education is always the first to feel it. I’m a teacher and am so thankful for my job, but here in Florida we have taken a blow.

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    June 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Tipper, I agree with the post concerning the inflated salaries at the top. That is true in all companies and government positions. Teachers should make the most money, but a good teacher will often try to move up to administration so she/he can make a higher salary. That seems to be backward to me. We need good teachers in the classroom working with the students. When I taught school, the administration was so remote from the classroom that our problems with teaching were not considered by those at the top. But they made the money. America’s school system is in trouble and because of that we will fall further and further behind the rest of the world. I heard this week about a program whereby students would be paid to attend school. What in the world is wrong when we need to pay someone to get an education?
    Budget cuts and teacher cuts show me the emphasis is not on education where it should be in the state and in the federal government.
    That’s my rant from a retired teacher.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful time this summer. So sorry to hear about the teacher’s laying off. It is a scary and difficult time. My youngest son worked a summer job last year and had no trouble getting hired…this has put a freeze on hiring and when he got called in for an interview at Dominos Pizza, 30 other people were there for an interview as well….for just a pizza job! Enjoy the days that are good while we have them…blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    June 13, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Tipper: So far I haven’t seen much change in our education. That is something that Ohio does put an important level. We are a heavily taxed state and do get educational rewards.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Feeling it here.
    School issues are big in our house, my husband is a teacher at the state run college, I have my girls at home instead of at a public or private school. I come from a educator background, my mom and three siblings and spouses work or worked as teachers or therapists in their local public schools.
    My husband took a sizable cut in pay and watched colleagues lose their postitions this spring.
    On the one hand I can see everyone’s concern, on the other I have witnessed huge amounts of wasted spending in schools. The bulk of the waste was not in the actual teacher population but there is waste even there at times.
    I think this economic rough time is a time for deep lessons and evaluation of what is necessary to get the job done and what exactly is the job.
    It seems puzzling to me and plain absurd that we can’t afford our schools. Unless of course we take a gander at just one of our state run universities and note that the president’s annual compensation is $905,000 and free use of the university’s mansion. (He did decline his annual salary increase this year, in light of the economic situation he thought it the “prudent” thing to do.) And it is not just the presidents of the universities and colleges. It is a rampant thing at all levels of education in many facets of administration and many completely unneccessary positions, originally created for what reason one can only wonder.
    We are convinced that this is how we must spend our educational dollars. We are convinced by those that know and understand these things that state and local cut backs have to greatly effect the point of service and never the over inflated oft unneccessary administration. We are told that we have to stay competitive in order to retain our quality, and this is how you stay competitive. And we all buy into and support the system and call it capitalism until it pinches us personally.
    Tipper, I know you will make sure your daughters learn no matter what the exterior situation may be. I hope that those in communities across this great land who are similarly driven for their own children reach out and help a family or two next to them that may flounder because they lost a teacher and now there are 44 kids in a classroom instead of 22.

  • Reply
    Lisa O.
    June 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

    we had a “scare” with our little charter school here in Oregon. But it turned out that with some tight money budgeting and creative ideas, we were able to keep our teachers so far. We did take quite a cut in budget from the state but we are doing our best to make it work.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Sorry to say that it’s happening all over the country.
    I have no words that would make anyone feel better other than the fact that we need to think positive and stick together.
    We’ve been down and out before and I’m sure we will rebound once again.
    Giving up is not a normal trate for americans.

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