The Mason School Board in a meeting on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 more or less gave the people of Mason the finger; (figuratively speaking of course) The people of Mason were told that because they didn’t pass a levy in November that painful cuts were headed their way. Basically, they’re going to “extend” the busing routes, along with some “pay to play” initiatives that are designed to cut nearly $6 million out of their budget.
What they didn’t do was what Lakota has done, and that is see what the actual budget requirements are going to be once Governor Kasich eliminates many of the unfunded mandates he’s promised to cut, to give districts the chance to take their fates in their own control. That information comes out in March. What Mason did was decided to point their finger at the community and play the extortion game.
The following clip is from the day after, and on the eve of Jeff Reeds visit to promote School Choice, ironically in Mason on Thursday. Jeff and Sharon Poe, the woman behind defeating the levy in Mason went on the Big One with Doc Thompson to cover the various issues percolating in the shadows of the Big One’s radio transmitter.
Everywhere that monopolies exist, extortion of the consumer of the products monopolies produce can take place. If you’ll remember, the Federal Government during the Clinton Administration went after Microsoft, to bust up the market monopoly Microsoft had over other companies. And at the turn of the last century, Teddy Roosevelt, the Progressive Hero, went after the Railroads. But where are the demands from these same progressives to go after the monopolies of “public education?”
That’s what it is. Mason has no right to play the guilt game with the citizens of its district. However, Kevin Bright is one of the highest paid superintendents for a reason. He’s has been one of the instructors of Levy University, taught at the annual OSBA event in November of each year at Columbus. So he’s the master of getting levies passed, so in his district, they are “choosing to play the game.”
And the game is a thuggish exchange of protecting the top paid administrators and teachers at the sacrifice of the teachers and personnel of lower stature, and the goal is to secure their wages and pensions so as to maintain their monopoly on education far into the future, to protect the livelihoods they’ve manipulated for themselves.
I had a teacher send me an email, “you’re not going to stop until we’re all making minimum wage are you? We’d all have to take a 30% cut to meet the budget at Lakota.”
All I can do is shrug my shoulders to that comment. Nobody said anything about teachers making minimum wage, but a 30% cut to meet the budget is something I suggested almost 6 months ago. If Lakota, Mason, and the rest of the districts that are in trouble, which is everyone, had taken such a step, they would have taken the steps to make themselves competitive for the future. A teacher that makes a $105,000 and takes a reduction of 30% would pay that teacher $73,500, which if they have tenure, and a master’s degree, is much more in line with a proper salary. Does anyone believe that making $73,500 a year with great benefits, summers off, and every federal holiday through the school year is asking teachers to work for minimum wage? On the other hand, I would argue that new teachers should be paid in line with what they are currently making. It’s the top end that is wrecking these school budgets, not the new teachers that are only making $35 to $45K per year.
Yet there is only silence to that obvious problem, and all districts are willing to deal with is the extreme low hanging fruit. And they do that because they are effective monopolies that feel empowered to punish its consumers because they lack competition. A district like Mason knows that parents are forced to use their product, and because of the property taxes residence are forced to pay, are literally pushed into accepting realities that would otherwise be completely deplorable.
In the end it’s more about ego and PR relations than doing what’s right for the community. What would happen if the man who teaches Levy University in Columbus couldn’t even get a levy passed in his own district? What message would that send to the surrounding districts?