Nampa school district's $2.8-million bookkeeping error leaves substitute teachers jobless and "disgusted"
“If teachers are going to be sick,” substitute teacher Melissa Breech said, “if they’re waking up in the morning and their kids are sick or they’re sick for the day, who are they going to call upon?” Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
“If teachers are going to be sick,” substitute teacher Melissa Breech said, “if they’re waking up in the morning and their kids are sick or they’re sick for the day, who are they going to call upon?”
Thanks to a little $2.8-million clerical error, the Nampa School District can’t answer that question.
“It’s sad,” Melissa said. “It’s really sad.”
Substitute teachers like Breech just won’t get jobs in Nampa this year unless a full-time teacher gets pregnant or seriously ill. But if a teacher calls in sick, no paid sub will arrive in his place. So, schools must determine who fills that spot on their own, with no money to pay the substitute.
We asked Melissa if she thought students would suffer during a school year without subs: “Oh, my gosh,” she said. "I would think so, but I’m not administration. I don’t know all the intricate details.”
And actually, the details aren’t even that intricate: On a previous budget, Nampa penciled itself in for a one-time chunk of federal stimulus dollars. It then forgot to erase that sum on this year’s budget.
So, for 2012, the district effectively thought it had almost $3 million it just didn’t. Now it must make up that money elsewhere: substitutes, a hiring freeze, school supplies and reshuffling of federal funds.
Melissa’s studying for her master’s in counseling and education. She went to the district looking to reclaim the substitute job she'd held for two years but they told her: Not this year. Melissa said the district’s gaffe reminded her a lesson she learned from her father.
“He always taught me growing up: You have a certain amount of money,” she said. “This is how much you have. This is how much you spend. And there you go.”
Nampa’s error cost Melissa her job, but she said ultimately she’d be fine. Instead, she worried the bookkeeping bluder would hurt the kids.
“Honestly, it really does disgust me,” she said. “And they wonder sometimes why parents sometimes take their kids out of school, you know?”