The First Day of School

1 Aug

I’m often asked about why our district starts on a Friday instead of just waiting until Monday. The reason is, is that opening day glitches always occur and instead of having only a 16 hour turn-around time, we have more than 48 hours to work things out. And there are always things to work out. For instance I know that several bus drivers had not driven their routes before having to pick up children this morning. I know of at least one who got had no idea how to get to the child’s house before calling late last night to let them know the bus number and time of pick-up. Other issues include not enough books, not enough desks, issues with the cafeteria and basically all of the logistics.

As a teacher, the first day of school can be a very long and painful process, and we are very thankful to have a weekend the next day! No matter how much planning is done, it is never enough until the kids come. And there are usually surprises. In this case, my program was really surprised. At the end of last year, it looked like we were losing some kids as they were going to be attending their home schools. However one appealed and the other moved simply to remain in our school zone. In addition to the one new student I knew we were supposed to get (who didn’t show up) we got a new one who moved into our zone. So that zone next door had exactly one student show up, while we seemed swamped with 6! And there are more coming. I didn’t expect to feel this short this fast.

In other news, Georgia is once again observing a sales tax holiday this weekend. It started yesterday and is supposed to be for school clothes and supplies. And once again, teachers are getting a $100 gift card so that we can buy some needed supplies. I’m looking for some news on this, but apparently I’m going to be the one breaking it:

The Georgia Department of Education has received reports from teachers that some merchants are experiencing difficulties processing payments involving Teacher Gift Cards.

The Department has communicated these issues to Bank of America who has determined that there is an issue with the scan feature of the Teacher Gift Cards. Bank of America has assured the State that the problem will be corrected by tomorrow morning – Saturday August 2.

Bank of America recommends that if gift cards are used before tomorrow morning, merchants manually enter gift card information instead of using the scan feature.

The Georgia Department of Education regrets any inconvenience and greatly appreciates your patience as we work to resolve this issue as expediently as possible

Regards,

____________________________________
Scott D. Austensen, CFA
Deputy Superintendent, Finance & Bus. Opns.
Georgia Department of Education

So there you have it. Teachers have to wait until tomorrow to use their gift cards because Bank of America has screwed them up. Why not just give us all $100 in cash? No glitches to worry about there! The reason for the gift cards is so that teachers who often dig into their own pockets for items won’t have to dig as deep. It’s along the same lines as the federal $250 deductions that teachers can take for buying stuff for our classroom s. It’s kind of an effort by the governor and the state legislature to buy more votes. In this case, teacher votes.

This year, we’re going to end up buying more than usual because the orders for supplies that we filed last February have not even been sent. So I can either buy my own stuff or ask parents to supply it for me. I don’t ask too much as the parents of my students are not rich by any stretch. They have their own needs and expenses, and I have learned to deal with what we have, mostly. But I think we’re going to need more bean bags for positioning and I’ll need more media storage space to back up computer files. The one thing I need most, but can’t really buy, is more time. I’ll just have to do better with the time that I have!

See you next week!

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3 Responses to “The First Day of School”

  1. designonpost August 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm #

    I guess private school teachers in Georgia don’t get those, huh? That sucks considering we already make less than public school teachers. Thanks Sonny! 🙂

  2. kim August 1, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    I was able to use my card today ( Friday) at Wally World. It did, however, take an act of congresss and about 15 minutes of waiting. The teacher’s in my county didn’t even know we were getting the cards. There was no mention of it by e-mail or media in this area!!! Go figure. Hope everyone’s year goes smoothly and we all, once again, live through GAA. When will it all just go away!!!

  3. Daniel Dage August 2, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    There’s not as many private school teacher, therefore your votes don’t count as much, DesignOP. Therefore no vote buying schemes for you! Plus you’d just buy a bunch of fabric with it, anyway!;-)

    I wondered how teachers would know about it who haven’t started school, yet, Kim. This is one advantage of having preplanning and school early enough so we all know about it.

    Yeah, you know how much I’m looking forward to the GAA….NOT!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
    D.

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