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Apr 22, 201310:52 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Invoking the spirit of Maggie Thatcher at the Madison School Board

Invoking the spirit of Maggie Thatcher at the Madison School Board

(page 1 of 2)

Yes, the Madison School Board needs a good haunting.

Any company that hiked prices by 7.4% would meet massive customer resistance unless it faced a shortage caused by some natural disaster. What is the disaster facing the Madison School District – unless it is of its own making?

Yet we know that’s how much school property taxes could increase, thanks to the excellent reporting of Wisconsin State Journal reporter Matthew DeFour. Schools are typically about one-half of your total property tax bill, so pay attention!

Did you get a 7.4% pay raise this year? State employees have forgone a pay raise the last couple years. They had to reach in their pockets to pay new health insurance and pension co-pays. Annuitants covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System have been treading water since 2009. Those who retired nine or more years ago are facing a 9.6% reduction in their pensions. Many of those, ironically, are retired teachers.

Yet the Madison School Board proposes a 1.5% across-the-board pay increase. Actually, reporter DeFour underreported the proposed pay increase. Add another 1% for the “step” increases to account for longevity to equal a 2.5% increase. Almost uniquely among taxpayer-supported employees these days, the district’s teachers still would pay nothing toward their generous health insurance benefits. Job security is nearly guaranteed. Meanwhile, the district acts as bagman for union boss John Matthews, deducting dues from teacher paychecks.

Can we expect the district to end that statutorily forbidden practice when the current contract expires after June 2014? Let’s hope so, unless the district hides behind Dane County Judge Juan Colas’ Act 10 ruling.

What would get the axe? Parent-teacher conferences. So much for addressing the achievement gap.

Here’s the budget developed at the Blaska Policy Research Center and Tanning Booth: Freeze wages, require 12% co-pays on health insurance, end union dues payroll deductions, institute merit bonuses for exceptional results, extend the school year, advertise for charter proposals.

With this union-dominated school board? A boy can dream, can’t he? See you at today’s school board meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Doyle Hdq., 545 W. Dayton St., where new board members T.J. Mertz and Dean Loumos will be sworn in. Both are union-approved. A draft of the 2013-14 district budget will be presented tonight but will NOT receive final action, so there’s plenty of time for your voices to be heard.

With apologies to The Economist.


Austerity is next to Hungary and coming to Denmark

Yes, the state of Wisconsin is cinching its belt – unlike nearly bankrupt Illinois, a fiscal Ponzi scheme. Wisconsin state government is practicing “austerity,” the socialist echo chamber would call it. That’s a bad word for our Lefty friends, believe it or not.

“I’m not shedding a tear for Margaret Thatcher,” cries Matt Rothschild. “With Ronald Reagan, she ushered in our current era of austerity,” damns The Progressive’s Rothschild (surely a misnomer).

Socialist political organizer John Nichols damns the “austerity agenda” despite record federal deficits in his daily diatribe against Paul Ryan. (It’s one of the few that does not praise that self-outed socialist from faraway Vermont, Bernie Sanders.)

Apr 24, 2013 05:00 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

What's worse about Madison School District pay raises is that more money does not equate to better results. The US News ranking of best high schools in the US has only one Wisconsin high school in the top "gold" ranking. Madison's schools show dismal results. They're not even in the top 40 of all high schools in Wisconsin. Weren't we told that we pay higher taxes because we get such quality services?

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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