FWCS Transparency Called Into Question

By Brien McElhatten

FWCS Transparency Called Into Question

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 23, 2010 at 12:09 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne Community Schools officials are in the middle of a $15 million dollar budget shortfall, and now district officials face criticism over perceived transparency, or lack thereof.

"You know we thought we were all on the same page working together here. The teachers the school board and the administration. It seemed like they pulled the rug out from underneath us on that because none of us knew about it," explained Al Jacquay, President of the Fort Wayne Education Association, the union that represents FWCS teachers.

Jacquay addressed board members during Monday evening's school board meeting, saying district officials have broken his trust.

Jacquay is referring to a decision by board members in December to approve salary step increases for a number of district administrators, while, at the same time, warning teachers that their salaries or jobs could be cut.

"We were just shocked that with all these cuts coming from the state, how could you propose step increases for administrators?," Jacquay continued.

While declining to officially comment to the media, School Board President Mark GiaQinta supported the salary increases, saying the system is needed to attract top talent even though funds for those increases might not be available this year. He also explained his intent to clarify the step increases and other changes at a meeting on March 2nd.

Teacher morale was also a concern for union representatives. Steve Brace, also with the Fort Wayne Education Association, told board members that teacher morale was at its lowest point in more than three decades. He expressed feelings that teachers are being looked down upon in light of the "Race to the Top" transformation. He added that with graduation rates improving teachers must be "doing something right."

Stay tuned to Indiana's NewsCenter for further updates.

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