(Todd Taxpayer Bailey) – Welcome to the 2011 Nevada Legislative Session, one of the most exciting in this century!
It’s a whole new ball game in Carson City. Nevada has a very skilled Republican Governor, who frankly is surprising everybody. Of course, there are some people who are not happily surprised, specifically Lynn Warne, President of the Teachers Union, who made an appearance to plead her case on Nevada Newsmakers, on Valentine’s Day. (Showing the Taxpayers of Nevada some love.)
The first thing Madame President did was to attack every single reform that’s been tried over the past 10 years, claiming it has been bad for teachers. Let’s face it, the Teachers Union hates reform; they do not want to change a thing (except to increase COLAs).
Randi Thompson, who was doing an interview with Sam Shad on “Nevada Newsmakers,” asked how much money K-12 Education received over the last two years in Nevada. Madame President claimed she did not know; however, both Mr. Shad and Ms. Thompson did know, $1 billion dollars!
They then asked why schools in Nevada do not have new textbooks, lack microscopes in science classrooms, and even toilet paper in the bathroom.
Madame President of the Teachers Union played dumb and said, “You get what you pay for,” and that’s the problem. Instead of new textbooks, more microscopes in science classrooms, and even toilet paper in the bathrooms coming first at Nevada schools, it is the high salaries of the education employees that come first.
In a report on WCSD-TV, dated January 6, 2011, a careful analysis of Washoe County School District’s financial reports indicated that spending increased 42% over the last 10 years, with almost all of the money going to salaries, and a smaller and smaller portion going to what is needed in the classroom. Education inflation of 42%, and all of it goes to employees. No other sector of our society would tolerate such a huge increase in the cost of doing business. The only reason we are forced to live under this economically unsustainable situation is because the Teachers Union forces Nevada legislators to do its bidding.
This is happening right now in Carson City. No wonder our kids don’t have textbooks, microscopes, or toilet paper. That’s just plain greed, there is no other word for it. If this were a private business, the Health Department would issue a citation; however, school districts do not live under the same rules Nevada businesses do.
Madame President was is correct about one thing — after paying taxes for government education, the first thing parents are greeted with on the first day of school is a shopping list of supplies that can total as much as $100, so the class can have the education materials it needs. For parents who don’t pony up, it is their kids who unofficially suffer a bad attitude for not having the money. The Teachers Union doesn’t care, collective bargaining protects them from the economic conditions you are suffering every day.
The truth is there is not enough money in the State of Nevada to satisfy the Teachers Union. President Warne knows where the money goes, The truth is there is NOT enough money in the State of Nevada to satisfy the Teachers Union. Madame President Warne knows where the money goes — into the pockets of her members. In her view, it is the parents who are supposed to pay more so kids have toilet paper. She is playing dumb about the most basic economic fact: Education inflation is at 42% in Washoe County, and almost all of it goes to her members and to the administrators union.
Oh, you didn’t know the administrators have a union too? When salary contracts come up, one union negotiates with another union at the collective bargaining table. See how the taxpayer, parents, and yes, the children are getting screwed. Sorry for the foul language, but Madame President is the one who is playing dumb. The time for this reluctance to be honest and transparent in education is over.
Madame President had no solutions, just “Give us more money.” Unemployed, sorry, “Give us more money.” Business and home underwater, who cares, “Give us more money. Cashing in your lifetime savings to pay taxes, to support a 42% Education inflation rate, too bad, “Give us more money.”
Ladies and Gentleman, the solution to this is soooo easy.
We have a Constitutional Amendment in Nevada that requires the legislature to fund education first so politicians can’t play games to get a tax increase using a child’s face as leverage. The time has come to extend this into the classroom. Either by statute, or constitutional amendment, classroom supplies, textbooks, microscopes, and toilet paper should be funded first at Nevada school districts before any collective bargaining agreements are funded.
It’s that simple. Call it the Nevada Classroom Protection Act (or Bathroom Act). Then we can get off this taxpayer merry-go-round that Madame President wants us all to ride endlessly, at an Education inflation rate of 42% in Washoe County.
It really is that simple, just don’t expect Madame President of the Teachers Union to say so. She’s playing dumb, which is a bad thing for any teacher to do.
(Todd Taxpayer Bailey is publisher of the Capital Chronicle and WCSD-TV.)