Here’s the lefty playbook when it comes to exacting more tribute from the people:
- Make a demand. Say, a 30% in crease in the school district levy, amounting to an increase in taxes of almost $40 million a year for eight years.
- Point out that if the voters don’t acquiesce to the demand, the thing that the taxpayers most value – in this case, 364 teachers. That in a school district with 5,300 employees, only 58% of whom, a little over 3,000, ever set foot in a classroom. That means you, the lefty, plan on laying off 12% of the district’s teachers – if the voters don’t give you what you want. (No administrator jobs are at risk, naturally)
It’s the way a petulant teenager acts when they don’t get their way.
It’s the choice Saint Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva has given the voters of Saint Paul.
And it’s worse than that. Greg Copeland, chair of “Vote NO 30% Levy Tax Hike!”, writes:
“The St. Paul School Board majority, following the recommendation of the Superintendent, showed so little respect for St. Paul Voters that it chose to combine the expiring 2006 Levy Renewal with a 30% Levy Property Tax Hike in a single ballot question, rather than giving voters an open choice of two questions, as it easily could have done; one to renew and another on the proposed 30% levy property tax increase.”, said Copeland.
There are so many angles to this story.
Blackboard Fodder: Teachers union members are among the most reliable Democrat voters out there.
But when every single bureaucracy that emjploys them uses this exact same tactic – using their jobs as bargaining chips, and never, ever touching the admin jobs that are the district’s greatest sacred cow – I have to wonder; don’t teachers ever get tired of it?
Do they all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome?
Mush, Sled Dogs!: I’ve been a Saint Paul taxpayer for a quarter of an endless freaking century now. Near as I can remember, the Saint Paul Public Schools have gotten every single levy increase they’ve ever asked for. And yet the schools never get anything but worse.
The district is under the impression that the few remaining businesses and residents that actually pay taxes are like ATMs with no limit.
We are not.
In the immortal words of Little Steven, “I’m getting tired of paying for sh*t I never get / Somebody promised justice, and they ain’t delivered yet”.
Subsidizing Failure: And yet the schools get worse and worse. The efflux of families, especially lower-income and immigrant families, to charter, parochial and suburban schools has ripped a minimum of 12% out of the district’s population (and many of the families are putting their money where their mouths are, and leaving the city).
And while some of the marquee schools – the ones that serve the white upper-middle class children of the more-connected government workers in Saint Anthony Park and Desnoyer and Highland are more or less adequate and make most of the right noises on command, the SPPS has among the worst achievement gaps in the US.
The Saint Paul Public School District is a failed venture. Since it is a wholly-owned arm of the St. Paul DFL, it is in every way a symptom of the failure of one-party rule in Saint Paul. If it were a business, it would go out of business. If it were a regulated business, it would be shut down by the government. If it were a charter school, the Department of Education would padlock it and MN2020 would wrinkle its organization nose and write a snarky “white paper” on what a crappy idea it was.
But Superintendent Silva and the School Board – loyal DFLers all – are doing what they do every time the levy comes up; holding guns to the teachers’ heads, and saying “pay up or the teachers get it”.
Call it “Valeria’s Choice”.
The people of Saint Paul need to send our worthless, incompetent school district a message; do a better job, or (heh) get out of the way and give the job to someone who can.