Saturday, April 29, 2006

Great Cash Giveaway

If you want to know how the Racine business-media-education-union complex will spin the great cash giveaway, AKA the Unified teachers contract, look no further than the first paragraph of Brent Killackey's latest.

"If the Racine Unified School District wanted to get health care concessions in teacher contracts, the overall deal had to be better than a qualified economic offer, or QEO."

Implicit in this argument is that it is more important to control health care costs than it is to control overall costs. This is absurd. You could eliminate health care costs alltogether by offering a $50,000 raise to teachers if they gave up their health insurance. Would this solve the financial difficulties that we face? Of course not.

But this will be the jist of the their argument. "Look at us. We are doing something about the rising cost of health care. "

The best the administration could have done, given the legal restraints they had to work under, would have been to impose the QEO. The teachers would have had to take a pay cut to keep their lavish and increasingly expensive health care program. But keep in mind, their compensation would still have risen by 3.8%. This is not a bad raise given the economic health of the area. Eventually, the teachers would do something about the cost of their health care package, because it would be eating into their salaries.

But instead, it looks they they will have their cake and eat it too. And they will coming to you soon, with the bill.


Brenda said...

Do you think that the details of the contract will be released before the board ratifies the contract May 8th?

Denis Navratil said...

You never know with RUSD. They have a PR nightmare on their hands, so my guess is they will release the details. Of course there will be no time to mount a challenge to the contract.

Advocate For Success said...

I am, as usual, beside myself.

We need to have articulable facts addressed by our School Board.

1 - When we say that it is necessary to pay a competitive wage to secure good educators ... who has determined a method, and when has it been applied?

2 - If the rate of inflation in Racine County is less than 3% ... who has the disposable income to pay those in public positions at a rate that grossly exceed the rate of inflation?

3 - If the school system is so important to our children, why haven't we provided an environment that allows them to use the reatrooms and hallways without fearing hazing by criminals?

4 - Since even teachers say the problem is parenting, why would paying them more solve anything?

5 - If the Mayor can't take the leadership role in solving social issues for our community, and if he believes the only response to problems is to suggest that the responsible taxpayer should pay more ... What does he do?

I'll get back to you after my blood pressure goes down.

Brenda said...

Unfortunately, the mayor does not have any jurisdiction in matters involving RUSD.

All the communities east of I-94 (Caledonia, Mt. Pleasant, Sturtevant, Wind Point, North Bay and Elmwood Park) finance RUSD.

Now, maybe if the elected officials of these communities would get together.....

Advocate For Success said...

While it is true that the Mayor finds RUSD out of his jurisdiction, he represents the largest part of this district. He also took time to insinuate that WE the taxpayers are unwilling to pay more to provide good schools.

I address the Mayor for two reasons.

1 - He needs to take up societal issues that are predominantly in the City of Racine and develop strategies to overcome them. These issues are causing havoc in the schools, because, parents and children alike, in this community have to put up with criminal elements that he allows to fester with his tolerant attitude.

2 - We should expect our leaders to provide direction and understanding to our community. Mayor Becker stated that we shouldn't be so concerned about increasing funds to Unified because most of the funding comes from the State. If he doesn't understand where the STATE money comes from, how can we expect him to provide guidance to the community. If he cannot grasp this situation for what it really is, what other issues IN HIS JURISDICTION are also suffering?

Brenda said...

Well said, advocate for success.

Denis Navratil said...

To afs and Brenda: You bring up many interesting points and I share your frustration. To me the contract dealings and other RUSD failures illustrate the futility of working within the system. The system is clearly broken. I have concluded that only the threat of vouchers will bring about change within RUSD. Note that vouchers are a threat only in the sense that RUSD is threatened by the easily proven fact that private schools can educate children better and for less money.

As for the mayor, it would be great if he was a leader on this issue, but I believe he is of the belief that RUSD can be improved with the addition of more money.

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