Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blackmail temporarily called off

As I note in this week's column (second part), the Waukesha School District called off the blackmail attempt and magically "found" $3,000,000 in other cuts and fee increases to save extra-curricular activities. I know you're just as amazed as I am. I was shocked, really. (This is when someone comments that sarcasm doesn't necessarily read well.)

Amazing what they can do when they perceive there is no alternative. There is no way a referendum can pass in the current political environment in Waukesha.

I also suggest a list of other ways for the district to save money.

The school district could start by pressing for concessions from the union to increase the number of "steps" in the pay table, putting it back in line with neighboring districts. Thirty-five percent of the district’s teachers are at the top of the current scale. In addition, the school district should also press for concessions on employee health benefits and co-pays.

If the union doesn’t cooperate, the district should take them to arbitration. The district would be following the advice of the state association of school boards which suggests going to arbitration rather than continuing to lay off teachers and cutting programs.

The school district should also look at closing schools like Pleasant Hill that are under-utilized, redistricting on the basis of transportation costs rather than for diversity, make further cuts in administration and look into outsourcing maintenance functions.
What a bargain for only fifty cents!

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