Monday, July 4, 2011

The Kaukauna Is A Lie!

Yesterday, I shredded the lie being echoed among right wingers like Owen Robinson (not a new thing for Owen, sadly) that Scott Walker's budget busting bill is "awesome" or "a positive impact for tax payers," by pointing out the fact that people will be paying a heckuva lot more but receiving less for their money.

Today, Jake in his Economic TA Funhouse take his turn by showing that the Kaukauna School District, which Walker has been using as a talking point, is nothing but a lie:
So this wasn't a "union costs exploded for 2011-2012" problem. This was a "budget cuts from Scott Walker and WisGOP in Madison are screwing us on the local level" problem. In fact, the original budget proposal from the guv resulted in a drop of Kaukauna's available revenues of $2.16 million (a bit under 5% of their total), and $2.75 million from the state (check out your favorite district's cut here, Kaukauna's on Page 5). The unions responded by proposing $1.8 million in concessions, which combined with the district $345,000 in surplus funds from 2010-11, would have taken care off all of the state cuts put into Kaukauna's budget. The Kaukauna School Board turned them down and asked for layoffs of 14.5 full-time positions instead, and decided to wait on the Legislature and State Supreme Court to do the dirty work of putting the screws on the teachers, and hope for large numbers of teacher retirements.

Which is exactly what happened. The Kaukauna teachers will now have to chip in over 18% of their pay in health care and pension contributions, with no corresponding increase in salary. And for all the talk about "Kaukauna class sizes going down," even Kaukauna School Board President Todd Arnoldussen admits it's projected class sizes being reduced, and those are reductions from huge INCREASES THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY PROJECTED. In other words, little to no change will result from what students would have seen this year. Class sizes DID NOT GO DOWN, as much as the deceptive press releases may indicate.

And I'm not even bringing up the fact that I wish Kaukauna good luck in attracting and retaining quality teachers when they're getting a huge cut in their take-home pay. Strangely, those "free-market" types that are always bashing public educators leaves out the free market reality of lower pay = lower quality. (But when has consistency and reality ever been part of the equation for those haters, anyway?)
In other words, like the supposed budget crisis when Walker took over, he "fixed" a problem that didn't even exist until he created it.

Just like when he was county executive, he is selling snake oil and false promises based on a house of cards.  Unfortunately, the corporate press just echoes his false talking points without actually looking into them and the gullible and/or the dishonest buy into them, not realizing their mistake until it's too late.

As Jake points out at the end of his piece, let's see how things are in a year's time. Heck, let's see how things are in two months time. That's when the pain really starts.

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