Monday, October 30, 2006

All about the kids, tee-hee

The following piece appeared in the Daily Herald. Remember vote no for education referenda on election day.

Divide between public servants, those paying bill only grows deeper

Chris Bailey
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006

All about the kids, tee-hee

Right about now, a lot of Community School District 300 voters are probably feeling pretty angry. Having fallen for the self-righteous and guilt-inducing “it’s all about the children” spiel during the successful tax hike vote last spring, they now know it really was about more cash for educators.

The district has offered teachers pay raises of about 4 percent per year for four years, including step increases — a reasonable pay hike commensurate with the rest of the world these days. The teachers’ union, of course, was appalled at such a paltry figure. Aggrieved teachers descended en masse last week on the school board, no doubt as a reminder of how much the tax hike was really “all about the kids.”

Referendums are never about the kids. A teacher arriving early or staying late to help a struggling or curious student; that’s about the kids. A coach disciplining a selfish player; that’s about the kids. A teacher bringing Shakespeare to life; that’s about the kids. Picking new textbooks over a fancy building; that’s about the kids.

No, referendums are always about money — how much can be taken from your pocket and put into theirs. Though we were vilified for saying it, we did tell you so. Our editorial endorsement urged a “no” vote on the education fund tax hike, saying, among other things, that a contract settled before the vote “would have assured voters their money wouldn’t go mostly for pay raises.”

That editorial also said the district should “ink a multiple-year teacher pact that includes a freeze or minimal increases. Employees represent the greatest part of the budget. They either are part of the solution or there won’t be one.”

We know how those employees chose, don’t we? So here’s one more unpalatable observation. If the district doesn’t stick to its guns on raises of 4 percent or so, it likely won’t pass another referendum for, oh, I’d say, at least another school generation. It would be that long before a new set of parents would be susceptible to the “it’s all about the kids” lie again.

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