Thursday, May 03, 2007

Memo to management

Tuesday's Waukesha Freeman interviewed Chris Lufter of the Waukesha Taxpayers League regarding the recent educational mailing by the League on teacher salaries.

“The sole responsibility of getting these contracts negotiated and deciding how much to pay the teachers each year and how lane changes are conducted falls squarely in the laps of the school board members,” Lufter said. “In contract negotiations, they have a tool to lessen the impact of budget cuts in the district.”
Lufter said the WTL decided to send out the information to residents at this time because the district is still in contract negotiations with teachers and the WTL wants to educate residents on the issue, in the hopes of getting the board to negotiate less expensive contracts with the EAW.
Lufter said health care benefits and lane changes, which are education and tenure milestones set by the district to determine teacher pay raises, need to be set in line before any real changes can be made in the district’s financial situation.
“These lane changes keep the district from obtaining a real QEO (qualified economic offer), and they far exceed the 3.8 percent pay raise the QEO mandates,” Lufter said. “The district could do something like cap the number of credits a teacher can earn per year to slow down the salary increases each year, but they don’t.”
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools David Schmidt is one of three finalists for the superintendent position in Appleton. Interestingly, Schmidt has an "in" with the search firm which should give Appleton some pause. The search firm is SCF Education Consultants, and Rick Carlson, who is a partner with SCF, was quoted by the Freeman,
“I’ve actually known David Schmidt since grad school,” said Rick Carlson, partner with SCF Education Consultants. “He is a very attractive candidate because he has proven very capable of running a school district, and he has a strong record and history in Appleton.”
While some school board members might miss him if he were to get the job in Appleton, our assessment is a little different. He was clearly in over his head trying to run the Waukesha School District.

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