Liberals beware! Conservative villain and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has some impressive results to show for his bold, but controversial, actions in dealing with public employee unions.
Read from Joshua Pundit:
Wisconsin: Child Hating, Anti-Education Bill Saves A School District
"During the flap over the Wisconsin legislation designed to curb public employee unions, no group was more violent in denouncing it than the teacher's unions. along with their codependent Democrat politicians. These were the same people who encouraged their students to leave the classroom to participate in the vociferous demonstrations at the state capitol 'to protect your education'.
Wisconsin Democrat leader Sen. Mark Miller called the legislation 'a disaster' and predicted the wholesale failing of Wisconsin's educational system.
But now that the law's been implemented, a funny thing has happened, as Byron York relates in a fine piece in today's Washington Examiner. Instead of creating a crisis, getting the unions out of the equation is actually rescuing the Wisconsin school system, as districts are transformed from broke to flush with cash:
'The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.
In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they'll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.'
Who woulda thunk it, eh?
And then there's the matter of simple corruption. It's not only that the increased teacher contributions towards health benefits that contributed to the new surplus for the school district, but that health care benefits are suddenly less costly.
You see, before the law, the only health care organization the school district was permitted to negotiate with was a crony of the teachers' union:
'In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving substantial amounts of money.'
Oh, there's one more benefit for the children in getting union's protection racket out of the picture..smaller class sizes:
'"In the collective bargaining agreement, high school teachers only had to teach five periods a day, out of seven," says Arnoldussen. "Now, they're going to teach six." In addition, the collective bargaining agreement specified that teachers had to be in the school 37 1/2 hours a week. Now, it will be 40 hours.
The changes mean Kaukauna can reduce the size of its classes -- from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school. In addition, there will be more teacher time for one-on-one sessions with troubled students. Those changes would not have been possible without the much-maligned changes in collective bargaining.'
Nor are the teachers themselves exactly going to be transformed into poverty stricken waifs either:
'Teachers' salaries will stay "relatively the same," Arnoldussen says, except for higher pension and health care payments. (The top salary is around $80,000 per year, with about $35,000 in additional benefits, for 184 days of work per year -- summers off.) Finally, the money saved will be used to hire a few more teachers and institute merit pay.'
So, here's your test question, good for 100 points towards your grade. Are the teacher's unions a plus or a minus for children's education? Please make sure to show your work.
For extra credit: Discuss how the Democratic party financially benefits from the public employee unions making ever-escalating demands upon the taxpayers."