CCSD needs better accounting for classroom equipment

CCSD needs better accounting for classroom equipment
August 07 16:37 2017 Print This Article

As the 2017 – 2018 school year approaches, teachers are readying their classrooms for the August 17 opening day. This is an exciting time for teachers and students with the anticipation of a new school year. One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of the year was to set up my classroom. I would decorate bulletin boards and walls, move furniture in place, and organize my desk. I wanted a welcoming room. Since the district gives the teachers very little time to work in their rooms during preparation week, I along with many teachers at my school would prepare their classrooms beforehand.

I recently spoke to a teacher at a middle school in North Charleston. She also likes to go in over the summer to get her classroom ready. She was going to go the week before the five professional development days begin on August 10. The problem was the building had not been cleaned, and the floors had not been waxed. Since less than half of the five professional development days are spent in the classroom, most teachers will end up staying late or coming in on the weekend to set up their classrooms. The district has had all summer to get the building clean and has mismanaged the cleaning crew. The teachers now have to operate in crisis mode.

You may think this is an isolated case. It is not. This happened to me and other teachers I worked with over three decades. Not only is the cleaning and waxing done at the last minute, the cleaning crew is allowed to do a sloppy job. For example, I had a new bookcase waxed to the floor and couldn’t move it for fear it would tear apart. Furniture should be moved out of the classroom before waxing the floors.

The other problem mentioned by the North Charleston middle school teacher was the deplorable condition of the furniture at the school. The teacher desks were donated to the school district at least 20 years ago. There are very few teacher chairs, so many of the teachers bring their own chairs. The student desks have sharp edges that tear student clothing and are so top-heavy, they can easily tip over.

I suggest that CCSD use a budget technique called phased replacement that is used in the military, police departments and fire departments. For example, if a police department knew that a patrol car lasts six years, it would replace one-sixth of the fleet each year. The district needs to value the appearance, comfort and safety in our classrooms. That takes sound accounting and management

Robin Steinberger retired after 30 years from Charleston County School District as a high school special education teacher.  She is the education reporter for Lowcountry Source.