Lakota’s School Board Approves a Reckless LEA Contract: The new average teacher salary will be $73,000!

It’s a very hard thing to do, to sit in front of a person, or a group of people when you are an employer and tell someone they are not worth as much money in employment as they think they are. I would say it is one of the hardest things in the world, and most managers aren’t good at it. Yet in the private sector managers must do it every day to keep books balanced in relation to the income they are dealing with. But in government seldom if ever does an elected manager push themselves to endure the ridicule of such a situation and that’s what happened at Lakota schools on Monday April 23rd 2018. A radical teacher’s union sat in front of the school board hoping for an approval of their LEA contract which provided raises of 3.5% for the first year, 3.25 for year two and 3.25 for year three—this after they had received a 1.9% cost of living increase plus bonuses. Surely the recent teacher uprisings in Kentucky were on the minds of the board and they had no stomach for a strike—which should never happen when children are involved, yet the threat had been made by the Lakota teachers under the whispers of insurrection. Lakota had been operating with a nice budget surplus, and they are actively looking for ways to compete with other districts for a limited number of teaching positions—no doubt all that played out when the deciding vote from the conservative Todd Parnell cast in favor of the contract. Yet the massive irresponsibility that transpired could be applied to every government position in America, what was happening at Lakota was happening in every city and county and is a trend that must be stopped, otherwise everything will come to a terrible end soon.

At first glance the conditions of this Lakota teacher’s contract seem reasonable. After all, roughly 3% in raises is on par for most cost of living projections. The problem is a little deeper than that when we find out 3% of what? 3.5% of $45,000 a year would be reasonable for a public-school teacher which is essentially a glorified babysitter these days. It could easily be argued, and it should, that teachers in the modern age are doing more damage to children with liberalized educations than they help because children will have to undo all that mess at some point in their adulthoods. But for the babysitting service for busy parents, $45,000 per year to hold 26 children in a classroom environment may be worth the cost. But that’s not what we are talking about in the case of Lakota. Currently the average cost of teachers within the Lakota district is $70,000 per year. While some teachers may be worth that much money the number is likely under 5%. The other 95% of all employees at Lakota are likely worth a figure under $50,000 per year based on the value of the teaching profession to the world at large. Market value considerations should be applied, but because we are talking about government schools, no such value is ever applied. Instead, teacher unions collectively bargain to rack up huge cost impositions against property tax payers of those schools in the district of their residence and as a result, these parasitic labor unions destroy any sense of reality when it comes to labor negotiations. The only negotiating they do is demand more money as teachers, or they walk off the job leaving kids to fend for themselves while those busy parents seek some way to have someone watch their children while the teachers are demanding more money. Not a good system by any measure.

The net result of the Todd Parnell vote is that the average wage for Lakota teachers went up from $70,000 per year to $73,000 by the end of the contract and that is just reprehensible. As I have said, probably only 5% of the teachers are worth that much money. An even fewer percentage are probably worth more, but a vast majority likely aren’t even worth $50,000 and they only make that because of the radicalized collective bargaining negotiations that take place due to the government unions that have infested all these government schools. Parnell should have voted against the contract but as he looked out at all those teachers in the audience, it is hard to stand against such a tide. After all those employees don’t really care about the students because they threaten at every turn to walk off a job if they don’t get their collective bargaining. At best such tactics by the unions are terrorism and obviously Parnell as a school board member didn’t want to be responsible for setting off a labor incident at Lakota. I’ll have to give credit to Lynda O’Connor, she did hold strong on the school board, but she was the only one.

Obviously to pay for those raises Lakota is eyeing a tax levy because once you give union employees something they never go backwards and will continue to ask for more and more until the entire system is bankrupt. When Lakota does ask for the next levy I will use this incident to explain why the government school doesn’t deserve it. Very few voters can sympathize with a bunch of government employees upset about a levy passage when they make over $73,000 per year on average. That is a ridiculously high wage rate for job positions that are simply glorified babysitters. In the past when school board members like Julie Shafer have attacked me for standing against school levies what they really are mad at are the bad decisions they made in the past that required levy passage to sustain a budget—because they want to throw money at teachers and be the good guys with their peers instead of doing the hard work of management and telling those employees that they aren’t worth the money. Let those unhappy teachers go to some other district and lower the payroll of the Lakota budget. Hire fresh teachers right out of college who only make $45K per year. If they want to make more, leave and let Lakota hire some new fresh faces. That is what you do in management. But if you don’t know what you are doing with people and employees, you think that experience is worth the money. Often it isn’t. Youth and vigor are often what children need to learn new things, not some old over paid coffee sipping teacher just milking the system because the union protects their lack of ambition behind collective bargaining. I would bet that most of the teachers in the Lakota school system fall in this mediocre category, and it is the responsibility of the school board to do the hard job when they can to keep those costs down by pushing those old budget busters away.

The problem of budget busting happens when nobody wants to be the bad guy and tell employees that they aren’t worth what they think they are. Schools need to operate more like the private sector does because after all that is what we are supposed to be preparing kids for. The goal isn’t to prepare kids for some socialist indoctrination center called college any more. That scam has been fully revealed to be extremely destructive to the education process. Most kids would be better off not going to college so to keep their minds intact—and reluctantly voters are starting to admit that to themselves—as hard has it is to come to terms with. Many parents save for a long time to send their children to college with life savings that would be better spent elsewhere—so it is hard to acknowledge that colleges are only indoctrination centers and the prep work happens in public schools paid for through a socialist practice of taxing private property. Even knowing all that nobody wants the public school to fail in their community because the schools attach themselves to businesses and homes in an unhealthy way, and until that changes school board members like Todd Parnell will find themselves split. Parents don’t want to lose that free baby-sitting service while they are out in the world doing what they think is important stuff—to pay for their kids to go to college. That whole problem is far too philosophically challenging for them. But I know this, in Lakota there are a lot more residents with kids out of the schools than in them, so if Lakota wants an embarrassing bloodbath at the ballot box, I suppose that’s what they’ll get due to their poor management of tax payer resources.

Rich Hoffman
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