Monday, September 25, 2006

Teachers asking for outrageous hikes

Teachers asking for outrageous hikes

Grant High School teachers have threatened to strike over wages and benefits (what else?), even though state records show increases averaging 35 percent for all employees who were employed there for the four-year period 2001 to 2004 (8 percent per year).

This latest teacher union outrage comes after the recent announcement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the average American worker saw his salary increase by 1 percent last year. This item was reported last month on the front page of the Daily Herald.

So teachers get 8 percent while taxpayers get 1 percent, and the teachers are so unhappy they want to strike.

And in Mount Prospect District 57, officials and parents are concerned with class size as they struggle with budget problems. District 57 employees have averaged 31 percent from 2001 to 2005.

If they had averaged, say, 15 percent instead, how many more teachers could have been hired thus lowering class size?

And it is not just schools either, as the Gurnee mayor complains about 6 percent increases for their employees, causing budget shortfalls in other areas.

The so-called budget problems in schools and cities are not lack of revenue it is large salary and benefit increases for public employees. Put public employee salary increases on the same basis as private employees and magically budget problems disappear.

How much longer are taxpayers going to allow this to go on? And how long will it be before school boards and city councils use these numbers, which are publicly available, to negotiate contracts?

It’s very simple: public employee salaries cannot increase faster than taxpayer’s salaries.

Bill Zettler

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