The Phantom Kids of Lakota: Losing 100 baby sitters and the desire to hire more

All public schools are the same, so my national readers should find the story regarding my Lakota local palatable—and informative. Lakota is hiring more baby sitters in the disguise of teachers. The superintendent and teacher union president believe “high-quality teachers are in demand, making it critical that we get out in the job market and start recruiting early. We are looking for teachers who are well-trained in their specialty areas, care deeply about each child’s success and are committed members of our schools and our community.” Also according to the official school newspaper, Today’s Pulse “a more diverse staff to match the 26 percent racial diversity among Lakota students is important in future hiring.” No wonder most people leave that free paper at the end of their driveway destined directly for the trash. The cause of this hiring need is that 100 teachers recently retired leaving staffing positions vacated—hence the need to hire more baby sitters because after all the fancy talk by the government employees of the district school—that’s all that’s really required.

I have written about the incompetence of the school superintendent of Lakota before. Karen Mantia is a good politician, but a terrible manager doing what has always been done in public schools to deal with their budget short-falls—ask for more tax money to deal with their lopsided collective bargaining agreements with the teachers union, the Sharon Mays led LEA. My group in the past, No Lakota Levy has shown the district from the inside and out how to manage their money—but they have refused to listen instead relying on political theatrics to extract more money from the community—as all public schools do. However, in Lakota’s situation, they have been given a gift—it’s called declining enrolment.

For the next ten years Lakota will see fewer students than they had in the previous years, and losing 100 teachers is a great way to reduce their internal payroll. If Mantia really wanted to be considered equal to a CEO of a company—she would instantly recognize that the retirements were a blessing to Lakota—a way to drop millions of dollars in payroll without a RIF—but instead she instantly thought of ways to replace those positions so that the school would remain top-heavy with their staffing. She is a former teacher after all and is more concerned about appeasing the school employees than the tax payers of the district.

Mantia recently in the same paper, has been doing a lot of sucking up to the school board to renew her contract—for her it’s an easy gig. She locks herself arm and arm with Sharon and gives the teachers whatever they want and when the money runs out, they just go to the tax payers to extract more money from property owners for their glorified baby sitting service.

The Today’s Pulse reporter Eric Schwartzberg didn’t do much work in his recent article because he sought quotes from the cause of the problem herself, Sharon Mays, president of the teachers’ union at Lakota to provide expert opinion on the matter. That’s like asking a fox why it eats chickens. Of course Sharon wants more members for her teacher union, more lobby power to send letters of extortion to local politicians and more bell-bottomed parasites passing out levy support information during the next election. 100 more employees to Sharon is another 100 foot soldiers of progressive influence. What Eric should have done is put the school board members on the spot and made them give their opinion. Not pawning the article away to the two biggest pro tax people at Lakota who owe their employment to them. Even through Sharon is the president of the union, she is still an employee of the district, and that management of that district should fall on the elected school board.

But that wasn’t the intention; the goal of Lakota is to always grow, even if there aren’t students there to support the hiring. It is a good thing that Lakota’s teaching staff dropped 17.4 percent from 2010 to 2013. The drop in employees almost gave Lakota a surpluses in their budget—but Mantia and the gang wanted to give all their overpaid baby sitters raises on wages that average over $63K per year—so they sought yet another tax increase. They won that increase by spending a lot of tax money on public relations and still only won by just a hair over 1%. In 2010 there were roughly 1,100 employees which dropped down to 923 currently. Further reductions would of course save more money and avoid the need for future tax increases.

However, the goal of Lakota and all public schools are not to save money, or even teach kids. It is to give kids someplace to go while their parents work, that’s why Lakota is supporting pre kindergarten glasses so that children under five can go someplace while their parents save money on day care. That is the one and only function of a public school because lets face it, kids aren’t learning anything meaningful. Parents might argue that they want their child to have an opportunity to get into college with a sports scholarship or some other benefit—but the merit of the enterprise is completely ridiculous and false.

I knew a couple recently who took their daughter from the years of 9 to 14 years old to gymnastic classes everyday hoping that she would become good enough to become an Olympic gymnast. The little girl was good but the parents weren’t doing all this work for her—even though that’s what they said to everyone—they were doing it to save their marriage and the failed expectations of their miserable adult lives. They were using the little girl as a meal ticket and they ruined the kid. The girl now is a drug abuser just shy of her 18th birthday and is a mess. The parents ruined the kid by processing her into a system looking for glory through her success so they could ride her coat tails. Most children in public school sports are in a similar situation—their parents are trying to live through them—rather than teaching them anything meaningful. So even the cited positives of the public education experience, the dances, the sports, the community involvement with friends is an illusion. The public school is only there to do for children what their parents are too lazy to do for themselves, and parasites living off the community like Karen Mantia and Sharon Mays are happy to provide the service of relieving those parents of their guilt. But at a cost.

In this case, the 100 employees that Karen and Sharon want to replace at Lakota are for phantom kids that don’t even exist. The only purpose of those employees would be to keep their employment numbers up over 900 so that they could remain statistically one of the largest employers in Butler County. For Sharon it means more union fees. For Karen it means more employee hires under her watch. But for the tax payers it’s just another useless cost to be applied to kids that aren’t even in need. Over the coming years there will be even fewer children attending Lakota and a greater need to reduce the employees at Lakota through a RIF. But don’t expect Karen, Sharon or the Lakota newspaper The Pulse to recognize that, because the parents have a need for the baby sitting service of Lakota to alleviate their stress, and their personal failures.

If Butler County is concerned about job creation the 100 jobs lost at Lakota will be filled down the road at the new Culvers restaurant in Monroe opening near Cincinnati Premium Outlets. They are opening in August and are hiring 60 positions. That almost covers the situation job for job. By the time Liberty Way opens there will be a surplus of jobs in Butler County so there will be growth. The big difference is that the government jobs are shrinking and the private sector jobs are increasing—and that is the real issue. To me the advanced college degrees mean nothing to the Lakota baby sitters—it just makes them overpaid labor to watch kids while their parents build careers. A waitress or cashier job at Culvers is equal to the typical Lakota teacher. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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