Daniels Cuts DOA Jobs But A Whole Lotta Teachers Are Next

IndyStar.com reports today that they have terminated 33 employees of the Indiana Department of Administration:

State government began laying off employees today in order to cut costs.

The Department of Administration this morning began telling 33 employees that they no longer will have jobs.

Mark Everson, commissioner of the Department of Administration, said the lay-offs were “necessary belt-tightening” as the state faces a loss of revenue due to the recession. The cuts will save $900,000 in this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and about $1.6 million annually.

He said the largest number of jobs — about a dozen — are in the department’s public works division. With capital projects on hold, Everson said, there was no need for those doing architectural, engineering and projects management.

Gov. Mitch Daniels recently ordered agencies to cut costs by 10 percent for this fiscal year. Last week, he said that he hoped to avoid layoffs, but was making no promises.

His press secretary, Jane Jankowski, said no other agencies were laying off people today.

Note Ms. Jankowski’s phrasing. This is just the beginning. He will start with the DOA employees, but theĀ  hole in his budget is a whopping $300 million. The $900,000 represented by today’s firings barely wets the bottom.

daniels fires teachers

Today"s First Lesson: How To Defund Schools And Get Away With It

He knew what he was getting into. After setting property tax caps and forseeing a substantial shortfall in the distance, Daniels has long planned to use this as an excse to defund public education in hopes of privatizing education. This has always been his plan and now, with the help of Superintendent of Public Education Tony Bennett, he will gut schools across the state. Note this from the Associated Press:

Indiana’s school chief warned school superintendents Thursday that declining state revenues could force cuts in public education spending, education officials said.

In a conference call, superintendent Tony Bennett also encouraged school districts to stall any major expenditures and teacher contract decisions, according to an e-mail sent by Dennis Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, who was on the call.

The call took place after Bennett met with Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday to discuss state finances, Costerison said in the e-mail.

Costerison sent the e-mail to members of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, one of whom forwarded it to The Associated Press. Costerison confirmed he sent the e-mail and that the details were accurate.

Department of Education spokesman Cam Savage confirmed the conference call conversation.

Daniels had told Bennett that October state revenues were significantly down from projections, and that tax collections were $310 million below forecast for the first four months of the year, Costerison said in the e-mail.

The governor is scheduled to give an update on state revenues Friday. Daniels’ spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said he had met with Bennett earlier this week but that she did not know what had been said.

Costerison said Bennett told superintendents that Daniels’ intent had been to maintain K-12 funding, but the state’s fiscal situation was so dire that nothing was off the table.

Watch the news. The firings are coming. If 33 IDOA employees saved the Governor less than 1/300th of his shortfall, how many teachers are getting fired for Christmas?

And how many students will have to be crammed into a classroom after classes get consolidated?