A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Brother, can you spare $40?

My school district has come begging. Seems they're short a little. $11.5 million, actually. And that's just for next year. So, they're having a referendum-- just a small little matter of around $40 on my modest, $125,000 house. No biggie. $40 for the children. There's even a picture of four cute first graders on the referendum flier. The children, man.

My children, actually. I have one in public school in the district, and the other will be there in two years. And I still think the referendum is a crock. Why? Because they asked us for money last year, and they said that this was vital for fiscal solvency, but it should take care of the problem. Only, not so much. Because now they're back, and they've apparently blown through the money they collected last year and have an even bigger deficit this time around.

Why? The teacher's union. If there's a bigger group of hucksters and charlatans around than the Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, they must be the unholy love children of P.T. Barnum and Harold Hill. I'm not talking about the actual teachers here, most of whom are wonderful, dedicated public servants. I'm talking about the union-- the folks that won't even consider having any of their members pay even a teensy bit of their insurance (you know, like 95% of the rest of us do) and then expect the public to pony up when costs sky rocket. The folks that want to close down the Wisconsin Virtual Academy.

And just to add insult to injury, the school district-- you know the one with no money-- mailed out a flier to me urging my support for the referendum. No big, you say? Well, maybe not except that they sent the exact same flier home with my daughter the day before! There's an efficient use of funds. Let's spend thousands of dollars doing a bulk mailing to people who have already gotten the flier.

So, I will be voting NO next Tuesday, and I will be voting for anybody but Jim Doyle next year, as he appears to be, to borrow a phrase from Charlie Sykes, a wholly owned subsidiary of WEAC. The only way public education in Wisconsin gets better is if we start reining in the madness of WEAC. The only way to start doing that is to stop ponying up every time the ridiculous benefit packages negotiated by WEAC force school district costs to escalate at perposterous rates. The truly despicable part of this, is that front-line teachers will likely lose jobs so that adminstrators and bureaucrats can keep their cushy benefits. And the children will suffer, but WEAC won't care because they can just point their fingers at me and everyone else who votes against a referendum and say it was our fault.

Thank goodness they're all for the children. Imagine what WEAC would do if they didn't care so much.
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