Monday, September 11, 2006

Teacher Residency

Let me begin by saying I do not believe in residency requirements for employement; however, what message is being sent by the teachers and administrators of TPS when 60% live outside the city limits? Many reasons can be given, but few seem logical other than the teachers and administrators do not want their children in the school system of their employment. We look at brain drain and survey 10 years of Toledo high school graduates, we need to look closer to home and find out why our teachers don't want to reside in Toledo. This is a very distressing statistic and we need to begin offering incentives to hire teachers within our city limits and incentives to stay within Toledo and to send their children to TPS schools. I can't image 60% of the employees who teach in Toledo do not have enough confidence in the system to send their children to the schools of their employment. Any reasonable person would expect a per cent of the teachers and administrators to live outside the district, but 60% is sending a signal to voters of Toledo that they do not have any loyalty to this city. Quote from a May 2006 Blade article:

"If the Toledo Board of Education asks voters in November for a new tax to fund salary raises, most of the teachers who would get that money can't vote for the levy.
According to district records, 1,388, or 58.6 percent of its 2,369 contract teachers, live outside the school system boundaries. Of the 341 Toledo Public Schools administrators, 202, or nearly 60 percent, live outside the district. .....

Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, who lives in Sylvania Township, dismissed the matter when asked about it. "That's a bogus issue," Ms. Lawrence said.....

Ms. Lawrence said teacher residency will not be a factor for voters. But in the past, it has been an issue for some when a district levy appears on the ballot.....

Employees in lower-paying jobs live within the school district more than teachers and administrators.
The district's five American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees units - which includes custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, and food service workers - have the greatest percentage of members who live within the Toledo Public Schools boundaries. Of the 1,112 members, just over 70 percent live within the district.
Of the 380 paraprofessionals for the district, who are in the same union as teachers, 225 live inside the district....

Board President Darlene Fisher said of the three levy proposals that the district has to "explore all the options and what the community is willing to support."
Regarding teacher residency, she said "it would be great if everyone lived in the city limits. ... It's not like we can force people to live inside the district.""

6 comments:

Kate said...

Great post Karen. I've been thinking on this same issue myself. Kind of a conundrum, isn't it?

I wouldn't want to have things dictated to me, if I were a teacher - however, I want teachers' who have every incentive to excel. And having their own childrens' education and their family's property value tied to the product seems to be a very common incentive.

What's the answer?

Karen SHANAHAN said...

A few ideas... when hiring new teachers, give points if the applicant lives in Toledo (similar to hiring points for veterans, etc.) and when they sign a contract offer two wage scales, one if residing in Toledo, lower if residing outside Toledo. They move outside the city, the pay drops. Regarding the children attending TPS... offer credits toward courses at University of Toledo for each year completed in TPS and if they graduate from TPS, 1st year at UT paid. Perhaps this would be additional incentive to help stop the brain drain.

Let's go one step further, have the University of Toledo take ownership of the management and finances of TPS... see if that could energize the school system.

Kate said...

Let's go one step further, have the University of Toledo take ownership of the management and finances of TPS... see if that could energize the school system.

Well that is a great idea.

Failing that I suggest everyone work very hard and get out to vote next year to replace the last of the 'old guard' on the school board.

jen said...

My husband is a teacher for TPS, and we live in a nearby city, not because we don't support Toledo but because my job is here and we wanted to live in a place where one of us could walk to work. At the time we made the decision on where to live, we were broke enough that one of our cars was always in the shop.... We don't have kids of our own so that is not the issue.

Karen SHANAHAN said...

I understand and as stated, it is reasonable to expect a per cent of the teachers and administrators to live ourside the city limits; however, 60% is not reasonable and is detrimental to the TPS system. Residency requirements for employment are not the answer, but rather, incentives which would make residency attractive.

bobthedad said...

Our family is part of the 40% that chooses to live in Toledo and send our kids to TPS, but to conclude that so many teachers live outside the district to avoid having to send their own kids to school system defies logic. My retired in-laws clearly chose to move to the burbs for reasons other than the school system. I know another TPS teacher with a spouse that works 50 miles north and they simply chose to split the commute. A large number of people from Toledo and other urban areas migrate to the suburbs for lower taxes, more space, lower crime rates, jobs and sometimes schools. Teachers are people too. I work in Maumee, and if my employer and TPS were each to institute a residency requirement, TPS would probably lose one fine teacher. If you want to provide incentives for TPS employees who live in the district we will be glad to accept, but it would have to be pretty substantial to have a significant impact on current ratios. I also want teachers for my kids that have every incentive to excel, but teachers have little control over the things I listed earlier. If schools were the most important factor in determining property values the Elmhurst area would be the most expensive place in town to live, and I don't believe that is the case.

I like your idea of getting professional management for TPS. I work in a mortgage office, and until fairly recently we had difficulty reading pay stubs of TPS employees because of the inefficient stone age payroll system they used. I am sure there are plenty of other areas that could be managed more effectively with common modern computers. The TV news just had a story about the school desks TPS simply tossed in dumpsters, rather than auction them off to raise a little cash, or donate them for some PR goodwill. TPS has plenty of room for administrative improvement.