Budget Cuts and Boss Wanting the Impossible

  1. Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't checked in for the year but it's been ridiculously busy since school started 2 weeks ago as I have a couple of kids that needed regular assessments/treatments along with every other student the teachers want to get rid of for a few minutes! As you all know, getting vaccines, medication orders, emergency meds, etc. etc. in order is a job in and of itself, add in the steady flow of band aids and ice bags and there is no down-time! Which brings me to the meeting I had with my boss on Monday....

    My boss sits me down to report that because enrollment is lower this year (540/606) and with district budget cuts she is going to have to send $200,000 back to the district and has to make cuts. She goes on to say because educating the children is the priority, teachers are the last option when reducing the budget. That leads them to me, the nurse, who is on a teacher salary contract. She insisted she did not want to lose me completely, and asked if I'd be willing to stay, but switch from a yearly teacher contract position, to an hourly nurse at 20 hours a week. I let her know immediately that I can't make that choice unilaterally without speaking with my husband. I also told her that as a nurse, I can work hourly anywhere, and one of the true benefits of working for the district is the benefits of the paid time off, which I would lose immediately if I go hourly. She agreed that if I decided that hourly wouldn't work for me, she'd release me from my contract to pursue full time employment at another school. She reiterated not wanting to lose me completely, but they can't afford to pay me more than 20 hours a week.

    All week long I was running like a chicken with it's head cut off from the beginning of the day right up until the end. It solidified my decision NOT to accept only 20 hours a week at this school, because IT'S A FULL TIME JOB. There is no way I can get what needs to be done, done in 20 hours a week.

    The district has several opening I'm going to put an app into. There is also a high school with an opening-- is the adjustment from ele to high school a huge one? I'm a bit scared to make that jump, but I also want to get a job, so I don't want to ignore possible employment opportunities.

    Any advice, thoughts, prayers, support will be happily accepted!
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    About lifelearningrn, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '10; Posts: 2,436; Likes: 3,969

    12 Comments

  3. by   clockwood
    I would take a different job. Your boss will be sorry. The APA recently recommended that every school in the US employ a full time nurse. There is good reason for that. Your boss will soon find that it would have been much cheaper to keep you in the long run. Good luck!
  4. by   lifelearningrn
    Quote from clockwood
    I would take a different job. Your boss will be sorry. The APA recently recommended that every school in the US employ a full time nurse. There is good reason for that. Your boss will soon find that it would have been much cheaper to keep you in the long run. Good luck!
    Thank you, I agree with you. I do appreciate that my boss is in a major bind with the budget, and I fear a couple teachers may also be on the block, which of course is going to increase the students in ALL the classes. It's a bad situation and it makes me angry at the state of education funding.

    I love my students and if I could afford to work 20 hours a week I might *consider* it only for that reason.. but I feel like I'd be pretty much expected to get 40 hours of work squeezed into 20, with none of the benefits. I love my students, but I just can't justify the drastic cut to my family. I'd have to pick up another job. I want to be a full time school nurse, not pick up other jobs to scratch by.
  5. by   clockwood
    Absolutely. Best to leave with a positive attitude. No matter where you work, you will always be given way more than you can possibly do, so triaging is the key. Leaving a job you love is always hard, but a new adventure awaits you!
  6. by   Jolie
    I don't understand how the district can simply "release" themselves from a contractural obligation for full time, teacher-scale employment and salary, unless you agree in writing. I can understand not renewing at the end of the year, but once a contract has been signed and the year has begun, it seems like they should be required to honor it, just as they are doing for the teachers. Isn't that the purpose of a contract?
  7. by   lifelearningrn
    Quote from Jolie
    I don't understand how the district can simply "release" themselves from a contractural obligation for full time, teacher-scale employment and salary, unless you agree in writing. I can understand not renewing at the end of the year, but once a contract has been signed and the year has begun, it seems like they should be required to honor it, just as they are doing for the teachers. Isn't that the purpose of a contract?
    Being in Texas, (at will) I think that can, but maybe I'm wrong. I will contact the union and see what they say.
  8. by   Jolie
    At-will employment does not typically involve a contract. Please check the language of your contract regarding its termination. Most contracts spell out the circumstances under which a contract may be broken (by either employer or employee). One example would be for cause: that you have failed to perform adequately or have violated a policy such as excessive absenteeism, which clearly doesn't apply.
    A second example would be that both parties agree to the termination, which doesn't apply either. The third example would be that they have found an equivalent position for you. That may apply IF you are hired for another position within the district, but not until those details are solidified. Lastly, if the contract is terminated against your will (because of budget cuts), they may be obligated to compensate you financially. This is why it is important NOT to agree to anything until you've spoken to a legal advisor.

    Best of luck to you!
  9. by   kidzcare
    Quote from Jolie
    At-will employment does not typically involve a contract. Please check the language of your contract regarding its termination. Most contracts spell out the circumstances under which a contract may be broken (by either employer or employee). One example would be for cause: that you have failed to perform adequately or have violated a policy such as excessive absenteeism, which clearly doesn't apply.
    A second example would be that both parties agree to the termination, which doesn't apply either. The third example would be that they have found an equivalent position for you. That may apply IF you are hired for another position within the district, but not until those details are solidified. Lastly, if the contract is terminated against your will (because of budget cuts), they may be obligated to compensate you financially. This is why it is important NOT to agree to anything until you've spoken to a legal advisor.

    Best of luck to you!
    These are all good points!

    I wonder if it would fall under RIF? With the end result of hiring her back at a part time position?
  10. by   Farawyn
    High school nurse, hmmm?
    Welcome to the jungle.
  11. by   OldDude
    First of all, yes, Texas, is an at will state, unless your contract has specific terminology regarding what happens if you are terminated, your employer can walk up to you today and say, "pack your box and leave." Now, there is an opportunity to file for unemployment compensation after a period of time, if you can't secure a similar position, but it's not full salary and people can't afford to live off that.

    Now, having said that...this kind of stuff burns me up. Because your school district is either ignorant or just indifferent regarding student health, it's obvious they don't think of it as a priority. There are many ways to cut school budgets, perhaps the principal could start with trimming her salary but that "ain't gonna happen," eh. I know it's painful but your best option is to move on.
  12. by   grammy1
    I started at an elementary, moved to Jr. High and would never go back! Maybe just because I'm older, but the little ones are just too needy for me.
  13. by   lifelearningrn
    Hi everyone! Thanks for all the advice and support! The contract in my district has an out written in it for budget reducing due to cuts and low enrollment! I decided to go with the great advice here and look for another position. I interviewed at a nearby elementary school (1-5) and they offered me a full time position! So for the next couple of weeks I need to book it and get my current school ready to be sans nurse until they can find someone willing to do the position part time and then I get to hit the ground running (already weeks behind) at my new school. Not the most ideal situation but it is what it is.

    The new school has a little bit more of a mixed demographic and is MUCH larger, so it will have it's own challenges but hey, we're school nurses-- it's what we do, right?
  14. by   OldDude
    Ya just never know what God has in store for ya. Congratulations!

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