We Get Paid To Ask For More Money: With education, it’s all about marketing and spin

The day after the Lakota School Board chose to take a bit more time to analyze the deep cuts that must be met there was an article in the Enquirer about unions rushing to get contracts passed before S.B.5 becomes law. Listen to Doc Thompson discussing this issue on 700 WLW in the video below. It is good that Lakota did not get into a hurry to buckle under the union pressure. That would have been very irresponsible. However, most school districts, such as Lebanon went ahead and made deals with the unions. In Lebanon, Mark North, who makes $149,937 a year showed why he’s paid so much. He twisted the wording of his real intentions to proclaim that it was to the districts advantage to lock down their costs because S.B.5 would be challenged in court anyway. He gets paid to spin information like that so voters don’t see the real intentions, which is to secure their union contracts. But his actions, like a lot of other districts looking to pad the pockets of their union friends are revealed. Isn’t it nice to know where the loyalties of your elected administrators are? After all, it’s not their money. It’s yours………and before you say that Mark North is not an elected official, he is appointed by the school board who is elected by the public.

Here is the Enquirer article:


Under the comments section of that article there were a couple of the comments by the clueless types of people who inhabit the extraordinary costs of those collective bargaining agreements.

7:38 PM on March 28, 2011
Can’t wait for the referendum to begin! Gov Kasich and his Tea Party supporters have yet to see the power of unions.

7:41 PM on March 28, 2011

Enjoy your Tea Bag Party reign. It will not take long for the public to come to their sense and run you and your pals out of Columbus and DC.

What we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is that the unions and administrators have been most certainly in bed with each other. In casual talk we all make jokes about it to ease the tension, but in the back of our minds we want to believe that the administrators, whether it is a school board, or a city council, that they are acting in our best interests. With the rush lately to pass all these contracts before S.B.5 becomes law, the villains reveal themselves.

Villains? Is that the right word? Is that too harsh?

No. It’s not. Villains, looters, feeders, predators, are all words that can be accurately used to describe what the pubic worker has become to the American economy. They are those things because they have become too greedy, demanded too much, and are now in a position to make demands to the people who pay them. They have become corrupt to the point of treason if the word treason was used in a traditional capacity.

What are the definitions of treason?
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) violation or betrayal of the allegiance that a person owes his sovereign or his country, esp by attempting to overthrow the government; high treason
2. any treachery or betrayal

The unions, their strikes, their political manipulation, their raw extortion of the public tax dollar have engaged in treason, and they do it openly without fear of prosecution.

In the Pulse Journal report of the Lakota meeting of Monday, March 28, 2011 Lakota Education Association President Sharon Mays proclaimed that teachers have “stepped up” in these times of financial crises. She said, “We’re taking on more teaching responsibility-more class preps-in order to give students more opportunities. Delaying a decision is not fair to teachers or students.”

What does any of that mean? How have the teachers “stepped up?” Everything she stated is undefined, actually it’s expected. As employees of the district, everything she said is expected. Sharon makes $81,156 per year and at that pay rate, everything she stated is expected from someone in that pay scale. Everything and more! Yet she phrases it as though she were actually doing the district a favor of some kind that teachers are working longer than 7.75 hours per day.

Everyone I know that makes over 50K per year, including executives, company presidents, plant managers, sales managers etc, put in approximately 10.5 hours per day. They may spend 7 to 8 hours at the office and another 2 to 3 hours at home. Teachers take home papers to grade and do some class prep work as would be expected. And for Sharon to make $81K per year, I’d expect her to be on call 24 hours a day and do at least 4 to 5 hours of work per day at home. That is the value of that type of salary.

Yet that’s not what’s happening. Teachers are being paid extraordinary amounts of money to teach, which I’ve said should be in a range of pay between 40K to 70K. Any more than that is taking advantage of the tax payer. And the manipulation that union leaders commit against the community is a form of treachery, especially in the face of the last two weeks leading up to the S.B.5 passage.

The plan of these unions is to push hard to get their contracts signed, buy time, and then get their signatures for a referendum into the state by July 7th so they can freeze the bill and get it overturned in the November election. They truly believe that the public will be just as naive as they’ve been in the past, that holding babies and campaigns of “it’s for the kids” will work. They are counting on the same old strong-arm tactics to.

But what is the aim of those tactics. Are they protecting our children? Are they working on behalf of the greater good of the community? Are they working on behalf of a school system that is facing major layoffs?

No. They want their money. They want their money even if it costs their fellow union members their jobs.

I am proud that the Lakota School Board took some extra time to cut their costs. I would hope that once S.B.5 comes into play that they make full use of it to drive their costs down before the July 7th freeze, due to the referendum attempt.

For those union members at the top of the pay scale protecting your inflated salaries, you should be ashamed of yourselves letting others suffer so that you can continue a wage level you know is outrageous, and to hide such a fact behind children is despicable. If I were on the school board I’d set a cap on teaching salaries and for those that didn’t want to live under that cap I’d point to the door. You’re lucky I’m not on the school board. I hope the people we have there now can muster up a similar level of responsibility to protect the community. Teachers that put money before kids are not the type of people I want in my district anyway. We’ll pay you well, but not foolishly, and it is that foolish level of pay that causes the deficit.

It might be wondered or even considered malicious for me to include these wages in this article. The reason is that I know of no other way to balance a budget. How can you balance a budget without looking at the money you spend? Then you have to consider what that money buys you and assess whether or not you are getting the value for what you spend. And I don’t see it. I don’t think the money we spend on government is worth it. I don’t think the money we spend on education is worth it, because I see very little light on behind the eyes of our youth. And I get the sense that public education is simply an organized crime-like syndicate and they are charging the tax payer for protection of services the public values. If lightweights in the mind think my view is extreme, too bad. Everybody thinks it. They just don’t talk about it in order to maintain the status-quo. When people like Ms. Mays, and Mr. North, who makes a lot more money than the average taxpayer, says we need to increase taxes in order to continue to pay their salaries, I say to them, you’re not doing your jobs if all you can do is ask for more money. North as a superintendent should have put the community in front of the union. Mays as head of her own union should have brought her members to the table to take a pay reduction to save the teachers at the bottom of the totem pole and fit into the community’s budget. That would have been the responsible thing, but they didn’t do those things.

This is a fight that is just starting. We’ll see how much courage each side has when the smoke clears. One thing is for sure, I will be reporting every detail of it, because only one side is right. There is no left or right here. There is only right or wrong.

Rich Hoffman