Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Many people were shocked to learn that an educator in a rural school just north of Plattsmouth, Neb., doing double duty as the elementary school principal and part-time kindergarten teacher, has a contract for this school year worth $101,000 in salary.

Not bad dough, even though she apparently did everything in the school for that, and produced better student achievement at less cost than the in-town school district now taking her job over. Mainly, even though she was handsomely paid, she saved beaucoup bucks for the taxpayers just in the form of the legions of non-teaching educrats they DIDN’T have to employ because of her good work ethic.

But it raises the ironic point: what about all the griping about “starvation wages for educators” these days? Doesn’t this kind of expose that as a crock?

On the other hand, State Sen. Ron Raikes, chairman of the Legislature’s all-powerful Education Committee, called that salary “obscene,” a word that was picked up in inch-tall letters on Page One of the state’s largest newspaper.

Well, is it?

A quick check of
www.cbsalary.com shows that the average grade-school principal in Kansas City, Mo., is paid $91,100. Now, most of them are in their 40s or so, with maybe 20 years in the teaching profession, and that many years of stair-step pay increases. You know: the numbskull compensation system put in place by the cartel of the teachers’ union and its sycophants, including the corps of educrats of whom State Sen. Ron Raikes is king.

So using their own logic, an educator in Nebraska who is 79 years old, and has been in teaching for 51 years instead of just about 20, would have received about 30 more years of stair-step pay increases than those Kansas City educators. Therefore, a salary of $10,000 more than her 30-year career juniors make, or $101,000, is probably CHEAP.

That’s not obscene. That just exposes the stupidity of the way we pay teachers and other school staffers. There’s a four-letter word for the way we’re doing that: D-U-M-B.


This is:

1) Union wonks and educrats, who have everything upside down in education when they focus on what’s best for them, instead of what’s best for kids.
2) Superintendents in the Omaha metropolitan area, whose world was recently turned upside down by the “One City, One School District” mad rush by the Omaha Public Schools and the imposition of a new Learning Community governance structure.
3) Adorable schoolchildren enjoying the first day of school in North Platte, Neb.

(photo of kids hanging upside down from playground equipment from www.nptelegraph.com available only to email subscribers)


The influential North Platte Telegraph (
www.nptelegraph.com) originally was all for the consolidation of Nebraska’s Class I elementary-only country schools into the larger in-town K-12 districts. They bought the line that LB 126 would save money. Now that they know that isn’t true, they’re doing the right thing, and calling it what it is: a horrible mess.

Here’s their recent editorial, a thing of beauty:


As Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say on Saturday Night Live, "It's always something.''

The latest reason taxpayers may not expect meaningful property tax relief -- in a state that is already the sixth highest taxed in the nation -- is the disastrous, ruinous LB126 small school consolidation debacle.

School officials announced months ago that absorbing two Class 1 school districts would cost taxpayers here about $1.5 million extra per year in taxes. And sure enough, the budget approved this week by the North Platte Board of Education includes $1.5 million extra to cover the costs of absorbing the Hall and Lake Maloney schools.

The amazing thing is that consolidation was supposed to be about saving taxpayer dollars. But, that's before the lawmakers and the bureaucrats had their way with this monstrosity. Before they were finished, all of the Class 1 teachers were in line for a big raise, bridges were burned despite the fact that voters will decide on the law in November, and maximum chaos was created for all involved. And local taxpayers are getting the bill.

This is not the only reason taxpayers will be getting a fat increase in the bills they'll pay next year.Air quality concerns in the schools for some reason make it necessary to build five new classrooms, despite the fact that enrollment has been trending downward.

Our Natural Resources District finds it necessary to raise its tax request 83 percent, in the name of addressing water concerns in Nebraska. Last year, the NRD wanted to build a new building, but was turned back by frugal board members.

Mid Plains Community College has big plans for the North Platte campus, involving multiple impressive buildings. We've seen the schematic drawing.

Our airport apparently doesn't have enough parking space for the planes high rollers fly into town. The airport board wants a new, larger apron.

And at the city council -- where it was unanimously decided last year not to save $500,000 annually on the electric utility -- there are those who now want to backtrack on savings being realized through cuts in staffing.

Whether it's inadequately funded pensions, a low-level nuclear waste settlement, or not enough water, the one consistent thing is that addressing Nebraska's high-tax reputation is always the very last priority.

Decisions are being made right now by taxing districts that will make it more difficult for many to continue living in North Platte and Nebraska.

It's always something. But it's never about tax relief.

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