I have heard the complaints from those opposed to Governor Walker’s budget and I have listened, putting aside my own personal biases and Conservatism to try and get a handle on what we are dealing with as far as the schools go.
First it is important to note that while many consider the “fleeing 14” heroes, it is also important for you to know that they are allowing time for the school districts to put into place new contracts with the unions. These new contracts and negotiations are 16 months overdue and counting. Remember these teachers in many districts have been working without contracts for over a year. Why then did they wait? Was it that the unions thought Barrett would be the man and they could get even more concessions then they have now? Was it that they thought they had some leverage over the state and would bargain for more wasteful spending? Why didn’t their guy Doyle, get these negotiations finished in 16 months? Many questions and only speculation as to why!
Also one other thing to note is that if you ever wonder why they are really gone, check on Ballotpedia to find out who is “outsourcing” their campaigns and true intentions. Meaning who is pulling everyone’s strings!
We all agree we want to see our kids get ahead but the main sticking point is the wasteful spending in the districts and the notion that the unions run the show not the taxpayers. It is a simple concept, not one student should go without out if our districts would be fiscally responsible and not beholden to unions. With all the money we have spent for public education, we are still seeing little progress and even more waste and abuse of tax money. When people recommend merit-based pay or vestment (a secured position) based on achievement, the unions run away from these things. Why do they keep fighting for the rights of bad employees, wasteful boards, and downright criminals? Why do they not embrace forward thinking programs regarding the competency of their teachers, secretaries, and all public education workers? Or for that matter fight for programs that are educating our kids effectively before fighting for Viagra?
Case I: Waste on Your Watch
In Green Bay there is such a thing called the “Emeritus” Program that allows teachers to only work 10 days into their year and get even more payouts. This is a travesty of justice and an outright crime against taxpayers but yet a collectively bargained agreement.
Green Bay’s “Emeritus” Program
From Try 2 Focus / Brad Van Lanen
The Emeritus Program gives one full year’s salary paid over three years. That is in addition to pension benefits. The Emeritus Program is something that has been negotiated into the teachers’ contract through collective bargaining.
Note that over the next three years teachers would have to provide only 10 days of service to the district to receive the equivalent of one year’s salary.
Back to me…
Many opponents say that Walker’s Budget Repair will only hurt students and trounce on their budgets and programs that help our kids achieve. Where’s the big achievement, is my first question? Secondly, their account of “harm to students” is proportionally way off base. These budgets are now being negotiated prior to the repair bill’s passing or its failing. They are salvaging the ridiculously unfair benefit and pension packages that we are trying to recover from. These new budgets could have waited until a new governor was in place (as is the custom), or the bill was in place, or could have considered that this state is paying way too much in benefits and pensions and realigned themselves without force showing fiscal constraint and good stewardship of tax monies.
One must wonder what kind of people would rather keep the status quo of gross overspending with little oversight and not consider that spending needs to start in the classroom first and foremost. If you look at just MPS, they could save millions in costs and reductions if they would negotiate fairly, realizing that the taxpayer is the employer not the WEAC or MTEA.
Case II: Is Anybody Home?
MPS holds the deed to 27 school properties that could be sold or better yet used. They do have several charter schools renting space in non MPS buildings. Worse yet, they are paying rent to (dare I say) Christian entities!!!
MPS pays PRIVATE INDUSTRY COUNCIL OF MILWAUKEE $12,502.46 per month ($426,672.26 over the past three years) to house Kilmer South High School, an alternative school that only has about 350 students.
Do also keep in mind that the district is reporting massive amounts of population decline in the past 3 years, so I guess they don’t really need those buildings anytime soon.
Some of this property has been sought after with relentless vigor and lots of money being thrown on the table because it is considered prime land or real estate. Yet our superintendent refuses to sell these vacant buildings, sighting that he wants to hold on to the property because they may need it one day. We are talking about buildings that are beyond repair, have atmospheres that are not conducive to current learning trends, and do not take into account that we are trying to eliminate bussing and eventually returning back to neighborhood schools. Not to mention that we are employing and paying for maintenance staff to keep these buildings up to code.
A report from James Causey about the MPS Vacancies:
Case III: Abuse, Fraud, and Accountability from MPS to MATC
Another problem of MPS, MATC, and school districts throughout the state has been the continued mismanagement of funds. No person has been jailed or even penalized for these countless acts of fraud. MPS’s former superintendent laughed off the “staplergate” controversy and said they would look into it. Yet no one has been held accountable unless you count the poor taxpayers who keep unwilling and unknowingly fund these crimes.
The Milwaukee Public Schools system spends $3,287,671.23 of your tax dollars every day, 365 days a year.
Here is an example of where Title I / Reading Initiative spending is going:
Wisconsin Interest reviewed scores of MPS educational plans and a portion of a database of more than 400,000 MPS invoice descriptions obtained by a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsible Government.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School spent more than $680, including $550 on tickets and $57 on Bradley Center food – on a Bucks Family Night.
- Community High School spent $742 for a field trip to the AMF Bowlero Lanes bowling alley.
- John Burroughs Middle School paid $4,761 to a vendor described as the Funny Business Agency Inc. for “carnival set-up and services.”
- Cass Street School spent $960 with an outfit called Fun Services.
- H.W. Longfellow Elementary spent $528 on a trip to Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells.
- More than $470 in Title I funds were used by Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science for a trip to a roller skating and fun center.
The accuracy of the database isn’t disputed by Roseann St. Aubin, the MPS director of communications and public affairs.
So what do these activities have to do with reading you ask?
And even more abuse of taxpayer dollars…Remember when…
- Bradley Tech High School spent $1197.94 on pool supplies from LENNYS POOL SERVICE INC. Interesting to note that off hand this seems like a fair expense but with one exception. TECH HAS NO POOL!!!!
Here is a quote from that report:
Students at Bradley Tech gave their school the poorest rating with 70% of students stating that facilities were either fair or poor. This is particularly upsetting because Bradley Tech is less than three years old, yet it was built without an auditorium, athletic field, swimming pool, running track, or band/music room. What’s worse is that Tech was built without walls separating the classrooms and the hallway, making it difficult for students to learn.
And more waste:
- MPS has spent $27,144.00 to purchase… iPod’s
- MPS has paid $72,682.22 to The Daily Reporter, for school marketing advertisements. This is just one media outlet; MPS spends hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars per year on advertising.
- MPS pays PRIVATE INDUSTRY COUNCIL OF MILWAUKEE $12,502.46 per month ($426,672.26 over the past three years) to house Kilmer South High School, an alternative school that only has about 350 students.
- Taxpayers have paid $503,722.57 in union dues to AFSCME LOCAL 1053 for Milwaukee Educational Secretaries. Aren’t union dues usually paid by the employee?
- MPS has paid Yogafit $13,257 for yoga mats and training DVD’s
- MPS has spent $1,621,525.37 with the Florida based Intelistaff for temporary staffing needs. $1.6 million Milwaukee tax dollars to a Florida based company, but they haven’t spend a dime with the Milwaukee
- MPS schools have spent $126,482.60 at the Oriental Trading Company. Some of the items they purchased (a random search of the 2,000 orders): Mardi Gras Beads, ROCK-SHAPED BALLS, Foam Snowman Doorknob Hangers
- MPS has spent $54,438.86 at the CORK N CLEAVER restaurant for things like In-service meetings
Get the point? This is just one school district and I could log the abuse of tax money for days and probably even years.
MATC here’s your fair share of abuse and misconduct:
MATC tuition Should be in line with that at UW system and duplicate programs eliminated
MATC OKs contract that preserves no-cost pensions
In a final word, people wonder why there is outrage and why our kids are not succeeding in these pirate environments where lying and cheating are the norm and good teachers are stifled by the noise of common sense.
People look to School Choice because they educate kids at $6000 while MPS charges $12,000.
Bottom line, schools are not going to work if we allow this incompetence to keep growing. They prove every single day that they have enough money but could care less if it is used on the future of our children correctly. So their outrage and ours would be better understood by those who make it impossible for us to move forward. The districts and the union administrations, and bad members are to blame. If you are a good employee, Wonder Woman wants you to know I see you. You are our only hope for survival. You always have been. Those of you who spend your own money, give of your personal time, write letters to your boards and the community and loose your jobs because you are fighting for our kids, we love you! Keep teaching and reaching and calling out injustice!