A little bird landed on my shoulder recently to tell me that my local school system of Lakota was thinking about attempting another tax increase on property owners after years of declining enrollment, and poor performance, and it sent my blood into a boil. My position on school levies is pretty clear, especially these days. When I’ve been against them before it was largely a cost thing, public schools were just too much of a burden in their communities and they weighed them down needlessly. But now, we have seen that not even the extraordinary costs were even worth the trouble as the kids coming out of these schools are just a mess. Little birds have a way of always coming back and what’s more, its not just one, no matter how much time passes. What they whisper is the kind of things that are truly things to be angry at, because the audacity is something to behold, because if you really do care about kids and their futures, which I do, then this public school scam of sucking so much money out of tax revenue for poor management by the school boards is something that we all must deal with.
For instance, that same school board which is proposing to put another tax increase on the ballot perhaps as early as 2020 also is trying to get transgender policies enacted for the sheer progressive intention of social theatrics. A school like Lakota which is one of the largest in Ohio and has many thousands of students, only has a handful of students who would lay claim to any kind of transgender policy. While a person like me would argue that transgender anything has nothing to do with education and is purely a creation of the progressive political movement, accommodations are made at Lakota for that very specific minority. So there is no need for costly modifications or even the wasted effort by management (the school board) to embark on any kind of transgender diatribe. It’s not even something that a school board should be discussing in relation to budgetary considerations. In any kind of world that type of cause and effect proposal is completely non value added to the end use customer, the children and their families and really is at the heart of all public schools. They simply don’t produce anything of any real value to the world and have worn out their welcome.
In business, it is common no matter what the size for management to ponder how to squeeze cost out of everything so that a company can make money and survive. One of the ways that is done is to determine what elements of a company create value for their end use customer while putting all the other efforts to a category of waste to be eliminated from their processes. When a school system like Lakota is in the mode of thinking that transgender issues are a value to their end use customer, the tax paying public, then there is a big problem and it becomes an even bigger problem when they consider any proposal that increases taxes on a future ballot.
I am clearly aware of the Emily Osterling case who sued Lakota for transgender issues which cost $175,000, $75,000 coming directly out of board funds. Osterling was a long time teacher, one of those employees that I have said for years was overpaid for the kind of work that she was doing. The school board had determined that her activism into transgender rights was cutting into her actual duties, so the activist was put on administrative leave. The school board was trying to do the right thing and get rid of a troubling, and expensive employee that was pushing off progressive causes onto a learning environment that was supposed to be teaching kids. A few years prior in a close vote that Julie Shaffer was pushing on creating a transgender policy at Lakota the issue was narrowly defeated not in a small part due to the two conservatives that sit on the Lakota school board in Lynda O’Connor and Todd Parnell. The progressive activist Osterling wouldn’t let the matter stand and continued to push the agenda which eventually forced the board to settle with her such an extraordinary sum of money over something that most people can agree was not a value to the end use customer, the students and their tax paying parents.
And that is where the real problem is, that the employees of Lakota and every other public school are runaway activists intent to perpetually run up their labor costs and to ultimately turn our children into progressive advocates of liberalism and launch them into a life of confusion and turmoil. On the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati Osterling cited that her administrative leave in September of 2018 to begin termination proceedings based on “flimsy and retaliatory allegations” was somehow out of step with the actual needs of the community, and it is in those kinds of employees that jack up the extraordinary costs of the employees at Lakota which cause the need for ever more tax money to be wasted on them for the basic luxury as acting as glorified babysitters.
Osterling was a prominent Lakota teacher’s union official and a National Education Association board member, and co-chair of the NEA’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus—otherwise as an employee, she was a nightmare—expensive and underperforming toward what the value of an education to children really needed. As part of the settlement Osterling had to submit a letter of resignation on March 26th of 2019. The problem is, she is just one employee at Lakota which has many hundreds just like her, only not quite as vocal. Even when it was obvious that Osterling had to go, it took moving mountains to get her out, and it was expensive.
I didn’t say much on the matter because I felt the school board, at least a few of them, was doing a good job. Julie Shaffer continues to be the entry point for activism allowing people like Osterling to feel they even have a platform to speak from. My history with Julie goes back a long time, our debates can still be found by Googling them which were aired on WLW radio some years back. Of course when she and her board members back then couldn’t win a school levy three times in a row because they couldn’t make a good argument for the money the board was wasting, she turned to identity politics to try and bring great harm to me personally which remains to this day an issue of contention. I offered to put the matter to rest by supporting a tax increase which I knew Lakota wanted to propose soon, but only if they allowed teachers to arm themselves in the classrooms to protect against a mass shooting. Of course, they ignored my proposal which pulled my support of any levy off the table. I’m willing to pay teachers to get gun training and to protect kids from bad people, but I’m not willing to support progressive union activists like Emily Osterling. The school isn’t there for the employees, its there for the kids, pure and simple.
Due to the lack of management, again, not by all the school board members, but there is still a three to two vote against logic in Lakota. If that ratio could be turned around, and activists like Julie Shaffer who obviously has serious problems and is aligned with the radical elements of the employment base, money management might occur. But under the current leadership, Lakota plans to consider another tax increase soon and we’ll be back to all the same old tricks and nonsense again. I don’t think any of us want that. I don’t want expensive employees and lawsuits that are non value added to the end use customer working at Lakota. I thought it was wise for the board to try to get rid of her, which they did eventually. But when members of the board are encouraging the Emily Osterling types along, that expense is on them, not the taxpayer.
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