Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Troubled Schools

"No, not teachers - staff. Hand holders, pill dispensers, huggers, the usual group of high paid extras that keep the cost per student in the cities higher than a kid on Ritalin."  

This morning in the paper was an article about a recent settlement between the St. Paul School District and the St. Paul Teachers Union. They reached a pretty nice settlement. It was one of those rare negotiations (and trust me, as a former negotiator, they are rare) where everybody won. Well, not really everyone. Everybody won except the people who pay the freight - that be the tax payers.

It was an extraordinary settlement really. The teachers made out like bandits. They all got a 2% raise - which today in this Obama economy is like highway robbery. Why do I say that? Well first off, there is zero inflation. I know that for a fact because the government told me so. They told me that when they said I was getting a zero percent increase in my Social Security. Also, since POTUS said there will be zero raise for the military, my retirement did not go up a penny. So a 2% raise for the statist union is excellent.

However, the school district also won. They won the thing that most districts long for - more largess. Because they have some "troubled schools", they are going to fight the problem by hiring more staff. No, not teachers - staff. Hand holders, pill dispensers, huggers, the usual group of high paid extras that keep the inner city cost per student higher than a kid on Ritalin. 

My question is this - is all of this money coming from the St. Paul residents, or is some going into the "formula" that will mandate the state pick up some of the tab? Keep in mind, the biggest cost driver in our state, a state which has such a high tax rate, it sticks out like a sore thumb, is education. It gobbles up 30% of our budget.

Today, being caucus day, is the start of our political season. Remember this voters - we get the lousy government we vote for. Many people who don't pay many taxes or no taxes voted for this all this largess. And those of us stuck paying the bill are tired of it. Education must be cut by a third in this state. And we can do it and still get better results in educating our youth. But we have to do bold things. Like first, getting rid of all unions within education. Next, vouchers for every parent. Competition between different schools. We just need to be bold and think outside the box for a change.

So once again, congrats to the union and your feckless school board! You guys rock! And to the taxpayers, too bad, too sad. When you do your taxes in April, please don't grumble. The product you see is the product you deserve from continuing to vote for the status quo. Time for a change. 

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